Christmas Goodies – Bah Humbug!

•November 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Nanaimo Bars Of course I cut mine in half again to eat less, or so I think...

Nanaimo Bars
Of course I cut mine in half again to eat less, or so I think…

I thought heavily (figuratively and literally) this weekend about whether or not I will be able to do any Christmas baking. My right arm is not able to do much so; mixing, chopping, lifting in and out of the oven etc. so baking may not be on my agenda. Keeping this in mind, I bought a half a slab of Nanaimo bars and had Norm put them in the freezer. Nanaimo bars are Christmas (and all the time) treats here on the West Coast and since they were on sale I could buy them, right? But what about the peanut butter brownies, tourtiere, cheese balls and mincemeat tarts? Will I have to buy them all? Do I call the girls over to help me make the Christmas Crack (Golden Graham cereal, white chocolate and..OMG!) and non-sexual gingerbread people? I don’t know and I’m already planning Christmas dinner. I’m getting worse every year.

We can only wish!

We can only wish!

I know I can do mixed nuts, with and without shells. But I’m also getting cheaper as I age. Do you know they charge a pound for any kind of mixed nuts? A lot! But I do have to say there is a sense of satisfaction when you crack a walnut perfectly in half. Sigh, I’ll watch the flyers. Then there’s the eggnog, with and without rum. I’ll have to get wee bit more of that, too.

I need to find some aerobic cooking exercises like dancing around the kitchen with really loud music. Exercise would help, wouldn’t it?If I go for walks away from the house that might help with the low endorphins but I really don’t want to leave my nest. I’m really beginning to treasure my “me” time. But…

People won’t look down on me if I buy already made tart shells, will they? More sighs. Silly things to worry about, right? I love good shortbread and I think there’s a pound of butter in the freezer so maybe I will ask Shauna or Leanne to help or even Norm. The truth is that I’m finding Christmas different from when I was young and when the girls were very young. I still can’t sleep in on Christmas morning, that’s the real reason I make cinnamon buns for Christmas morning. It keeps me busy and not waking up Norm and anyone staying over.

I’m glad I’ve written this and I don’t feel as Grinchy as I did. But I will say, “Bah Humbug” just to keep everyone tippy toeing around me. Tee hee hee. I will have slaves and I can live with that even if I don’t make a steamed pumpkin pudding.

Thanks for listening and just to kick you off your diet, I’m including my all purpose recipe for the dough that makes my cinnamon buns.  ;D  Diane

½ cup hard margarine
½ cup boiling water
½ cup cold water
1 pkg (1tbs yeast) dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
1 beaten egg
¼ cup of sugar
3 ½ cups all purpose white or whole wheat flour or 50/50
(½ tsp salt)

First do the yeast in a separate cup or bowl. In a big bowl pour the boiling water over the margarine. When melted, mix all ingredients together, no kneading necessary.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (I put mine out on the deck, it’s usually colder than the fridge anyways and the racoons have never bothered it, yet)
Shape into balls, let rise and bake or use as yeast dough in recipes as follow:
375F, 20-25 minutes
Cinnamon buns:  shape dough into a rough rectangle and lay out on a floured board or counter.  Using a rolling pin, roll it out to ½ inch thick rectangle.  Let it rest while making the filling.  ¼ cup melted butter, ¾ c packed brown sugar and 1-2 tsp of cinnamon.  Mix all together and spread onto dough.  Roll dough into a cylinder and, using a long sharp knife, cut into 1 inch pieces.  Lay pieces into a greased baking pan and let rise.  Bake at 375 F until brown on top.  Remove from oven and cool.  You can add icing if you wish.
Cream Cheese Icing:  small package cream cheese at room temp and beat with ½ cup icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Spread over cool buns
Glaze: 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and mix in milk until the consistency of heavy cream. Spread over top, it will drip.

Pizza shells:  Form into balls and roll out into circles on floured surface then place on baking sheet that is either greased or covered with cornmeal.  Top with favourite toppings and bake at 400 F until edge and cheese are brown.


Guess What Happens When You Sit On Your Butt…

•November 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Well, I’m one month post op from a full shoulder replacement (do not click on the link unless you have a strong stomach). It will take me at least three times longer to type this post because I’m not using my right hand much and it’s hard to type, especially caps. For caps I have to put the caps lock on, hit the letter I want, then take the caps lock off; unless I can hit the shift key and letter both with my left hand and there aren’t too many of those combos for my paws. Phew, very small workout.

ICUAs you can tell, I haven’t posted for a while because it’s too much work. I’m very lucky to have an amazing partner (Norm, the husband) who is doing all the work around the house, chaffeuring me, and even cooking. But that means I’ve been doing a lot of resting and sitting around. And guess what happens if you sit around on you bottom. Nothing – you just get a bigger bottom.

I’m not in much pain, except after my exercises. I can’t cook because I’m not supposed to open the fridge with my right arm and the pots are all down low and heavy. It’s even hard to stir the yogurt with the fruit on the bottom with my left hand. I can’t use a can opener, the freezer is on the bottom of the fridge so out of bounds… but, I’ve eaten all the crackers, Granny Smith apples, chocolate chips, and so on. I know I gained weight. Sigh! Really big sigh!

Last week I had to send off some cheques and left them for Norm to mail but he forgot them and instead of waiting for the next day I figured I would take them myself to the mailbox a couple of blocks away. I got dressed (no socks, I can’t get them on by myself), found my gloves (it was so sunny but cold out for Victoria in November and I wanted to be prepared), put the envelope in my pocket, put on my coat over my sling and snapped it closed (I couldn’t do the zipper), found my cane (I need it for my right knee and so I don’t penguin walk), put on my ugly but well-soled slip-on shoes and set off. It was beautiful out and I got to the corner store and put the letter in the box. Thank goodness for a slot and I didn’t have to open the big swinging drawer. I looked around and thought it was too nice to just turn around and go back the way I came so off I set on the long way home (one extra block). It was glorious out and I felt pretty darn good.

But I’ll tell you, I was pretty darned tired by the time I got home. I got uncoated and went up stairs where I sat myself back down in my nest in the living room. I could exercise! I had a nap in the afternoon after my exercises for my shoulder (stirring the pot, stirring the pot). I get tired very easily. I guess it’s my body trying to heal me. But I can help, too. I’ll do more walking and Norm can buy good munchies for me, Christmas oranges are in now.

Well, I just typed over 600 words and I think that’s not too bad. I’ll be able to do more from here on; get back in the groove and keep myself on track. I have fabulous friends and family and they have made sure I’m not lonely or without and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thanks for listening.  ;D  Diane

Wondering Woman

•October 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I survived! Both the surgery to replace my right shoulder and hospital food. wonderwomanI actually got out 48 hours after the surgery and it surprised me that they said I could go home, I had only had one physio session, I still had 2 IV needles in unfortunate places and hadn’t seen Dr. Zarzour. But I did have an x-ray and it must have been all right. My pain was also being managed by pills now instead of shots. I could get to the washroom on my own and the hummus, pita and fresh veggies lunch was actually very good.

Home I went. I am home. I’ll be here for a while. It is really hard for me to type this left-handed and having to put the caps lock on for a capital ‘i’. I do feel very blessed and now I’m wondering how I will get real exercise. I don’t see Zarzour until Thursday to get the staples out. Maybe then?

Well, I’m off for a nap. Thanks for listening.   ;D  Diane

The Hospital Food Diet

•October 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Well, I managed the Thanksgiving/Birthday weekend only gaining one pound even though I was given five cakes between my family and work. Turkey, gravy and potatoes were limited since I got full very quickly but that may have been the glass of wine while cooking. But that is all behind me now (or maybe on my behind – ha ha ha). This will be my last day of work for a while. Tomorrow I have surgery to replace my right shoulder.

food tray

It’s a good thing, bad thing, right? Good, as in no more pain and lots of movement and bad because I have to have surgery and hospital food. I don’t know how many people who read this have ever had to stay overnight at a hospital but the food is one of the reasons anyone would want to be at home rather than in the hospital. The picture at the right is an inaccurate meal. I’ve never had fresh tiny tomatoes and the green pepper should have had the pit removed. Sigh, for marketing purposes only. Oh yeah, plastic cutlery, too.

I’ve been able to sample hospital food since I was 17 and going through a series of kidney investigations. Then, at 20, my knee and two hospitals and even though you get a menu there isn’t much to choose from, chicken or fish; hot cereal for breakfast or a hardboiled egg? ICK! Then many more. What have I learned about hospital cuisine? It’s nutritious if you eat it all, but it’s usually cold and tasteless. The coffee sucks so I ask friends and family to bring me a nice cup of dark roast, black coffee and I only order tea. I can leave the bag in long enough to get a decent cuppa. But I am looking forward to rebooting my 3 meals 2 snacks a day plan.

The hospital nutritionist likes apples. I like apples. I can ask my family to bring me Greek yogurt. I like Greek yogurt. I will sample what they feed me but if I don’t like it, I will do without and not replace it with A&W Chubby Chicken strips or Cheese Pringles. So wish me well in my rebuild, both my shoulder and my diet. I’m not very dextrous with my left hand so I have no idea how long it will be before I post again.

Many thanks to my family, friends, co-workers and especially my students at the Saanich Adult Education Centre. I go into the hospital 6 am tomorrow carrying with me: love, wishes, prayers, hugs, smiles and a ton and half of strength! I couldn’t be luckier. Hopefully a couple of pounds will fall off, too. I won’t be able to cook for weeks.

Thanks for listening.  ;D  Diane

My Birthday Guilt Puppy

•October 12, 2014 • 5 Comments
The Birthday Guilt Puppy

The Birthday Guilt Puppy

I’m going to post my Birthday Guilt Puppy before my Thanksgiving dinner so that I can pledge to you and myself that I will eat exact portions of what I serve today; I will journal everything I ingest; And I will minimize, but not deny myself, the high calorie food like cake.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for listening,   ;D  Diane

The Turkey Threat!

•October 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am making the turkey. I make a very nice turkey and do it at least three times a year. I really like turkey, the fixings and the leftovers. I guess having the family over is nice, too. But truly have to worry about the amount and kind of food I eat with it. My two daughters can actually eat 5 pounds of whipped potatoes if there’s turkey gravy involved. Sigh.

The Ultimate Bacon Turkey - A work of art

The Ultimate Bacon Turkey – A work of art

I’ve bought the sausage for the stuffing I’m making with carrot poppy-seed bread. I have some beautiful yams for the Fireball Yams and Leanne is bringing the veggies and Shauna is bringing the pie and a cake. Yep, tomorrow is also my birthday. This happens quite often for me, that my birthday falls somewhere on the Thanksgiving weekend but only once every 7 years right on the day. So, even though it’s my birthday I will  be making the turkey. But we all know what calories and inactivity turkey days bring. The constant snacking, the leftover sandwiches with lots of mayo, the hot turkey sandwiches with gravy and mashed potatoes and…bread! My goodness it doesn’t stop for almost a week. So, as we head into Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to my family for being there for me through thick and thin (I’m still working on the thin part); to my friends for loving me and putting up with my many moods, hospitalizations and very bad jokes; to my co-workers and students for making feel so wanted, valued and useful. Many thanks to my readers and followers for validating my rantings and thoughts. But I am most thankful to the great power that makes all the world go round. Thanks for listening!  ;D   Diane   Link for recipe for Fireball Yams:

Revenge of the Cheese Bread – Pain 9, Weight Loss 4

•October 8, 2014 • 2 Comments

cheesbreadI’ve been served another refresher lesson about bread and my poor gut. It was a Thursday and we had received our load of wonderful baked goods from Breadstuffs Bakery and there were muffins, scones, bagels, buns, three kinds of multigrain breads and two loaves of cheese bread. Our students had a great time. MMMmmm… me? I know I cannot eat much bread (it seems to create a “Ripley “ that cannot process through my gut very well). I have a childhood love of cheese bread toasted with lots of butter melting into it. I was really good with my eating during the previous week and thought just one piece wouldn’t set me back too far or block my poor intestines. So I toasted one up and it was pure food heaven. I went home and was pretty good, dietarily, all that night. The next day was Friday and at the end of the day we encourage the students to take all the bread and stuff home so it will get eaten and not go bad. Guess what? There were a couple of loaves of multigrain left so I put them in the freezer for Monday but there, sitting and looking directly at me was a whole loaf of cheese bread (sliced, so it was even more attractive). I gave it a home.

I knew it would be a while before Norm was home so I had a couple of pieces, toasted. Mmmm I can still remember the homey, comforting feeling it gave me. So, I had another. I knew I had to stop so I did. But, it was too late, I could already feel the dread block of white flour just below my poor little stomach. Yes, it was stuck in my gut. I wasn’t in pain yet but I knew that would come later if I couldn’t get the stuff to move its way through my digestive system. I went for a short walk, walking would help, right? I came home and had a big drink of water. I was becoming uncomfortable and when I looked down I could see that my stomach area was sticking out farther than my boobs. Oh oh, I was in trouble. Pain was starting, too.

I changed into my size 5X t-shirt (it’s old, hangs down to my knees and I swear I could crawl into it through the sleeve, but I love it) and ancient, very loose exercise pants and went to bed. It takes a long time for food to move through my gut so I massaged my moving lump trying to encourage it to flatten out and move. But our intestines are coiled tubes that go back and forth through an enclosed space trying to use peristalsis to move food along. It takes time and along the way our efficient body takes nutrients out and moves what is left to our colon. Norm had come home by then and I told him I wasn’t feeling good and was going to stay in bed. I got up, took my meds including a nice pain-killer, poured a bedside mug of ice water and crawled into bed and went to sleep flat on my back.

It was a restless, pain-filled night and when I got up in the morning. I wasn’t feeling any better. Sigh, I guess I now had a mild blockage of the innards. I say “mild” because I know what moderate (nasal gastric tube) and a severe (surgery) blockages are. It would pass. So I got myself a fresh mug of ice water, took my meds and went back to bed for all of Saturday.

By Sunday I could get up and do a few things but I got exhausted quickly and managed some yogurt then some home-made soup. But, by suppertime I was ready for bed again and I could feel the wonderful Ripley heading for my transverse colon. (Isn’t it weird when you know way too much about your own body and its processes. I think it’s weird.)

Monday I wasn’t too bad so I went to work and felt better as the day went on and kept to my “good girl” diet. The “good girl” diet is the one where I eat like I’m supposed to and journal it all! My food journal had been pretty empty since Friday. Tuesday went the same way and I managed a nice walk at work, too, twice around the track. On Wednesday I had a doctor’s appointment. Dr Fretz was away for two weeks (Hmmm she’s beginning to take a lot more “breaks” as she gets closer to my retirement age.) so I met with Dr. Smith. I explained about my “Ripley” and he checked my tummy but it was all soft and burbling and that was very good. I got weighed and had lost 4 pounds! Yahoo! Not the way I want to lose weight but I’ll take it. Now I have to work to keep on the downward track.

Good weigh-in

Down 4!

I can do it. I will do it. I’m avoiding the bread again and even managed not to pig out on fry bread this past week. The smell of fresh fry bread drives me to distraction but a well-placed Granny Smith apple helped me over that hurdle. Sorry about the mixed metaphors, I’m on a roll but not a dinner roll.

The next challenge is Thanksgiving and birthday stuff. The Ripley is not invited. Thanks for listening. ;D  Diane


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