Click to order: Leisure Arts
Just being able to eat without vomitting and living with constant nausea is treat enough, but being able to eat my favorite Schlotzky's Reuben (okay, could only eat half but that half tasted soooooooooooo good!) was a little bit of heaven!
Then, while I was eating that, our neighbor, Dave, walked in with his famous oatmeal/chocolate chunk cookies! Double yay!
I evicted my gall bladder yesterday for causing trouble in the neighborhood and breaching its contractual agreement to work happily with the rest of my body. It had to!
I'd say that's a pretty good meal haul for the day. Will be going nighty night soon.
Mmmmmm...look all the cookiesand goodies my sister, Suzanne, has been baking at work (Casey's at South Campbell and James River Freeway). AND she even brought us doughnuts the morning before my gall bladder surgery. One of her husband's, Charles, white-iced, cake doughnuts was the very first thing I ate on the morning after my surgery, that would be TODAY. No nause, no puking, no discomfort (except for my incicions, of course). I will always remember that dughnut with great pleasure!
By the way, the butterfly is in honor of Suzanne's youngest daughter's, Sydney, favorite and the lady bug is honor of her oldest daughter's, Jordan, favorite. They've loved butterflies and ladybugs since they were little girls. So cute.
My first post-gallbladder dinner is not quite decided yet and I intend to keep off the 20 lbs I lost, but tonight I feel like celebrating--no chicken and rice soup, no dry toast, no plain baked potato. I won't go crazy but I can't wai to eat a real meal again, and cook again! I've actually missed cooking (even the smell of food made me nauseated for weeks) more than eating so the next couple of weeks should be great for Gene. In a couple of days I'll be able to take over the kitchen again. Not that he's a bad cook, but I'm sure, even though he doesn't complain, that he's tired of cooking and taking care of me. I'm so thrilled to see a light at the end of the pain and nausea tunnel!
Huge thanks to everyone who's helped me: Gene, my sister, my niece Jordan, Auntie Miranda, Ann: thank you thank you thank you!
Love the heart cookie!
Mmmmmm...turnovers! Someday soon....
One of my nieces' and nephew's favorite birthday cakes wasn't one that I decorated elaborately, but that I baked and put borders on, then let them decorate with candy pieces. Sydney has always had a love affair with butterflies so for her 10th birthday I baked a simple butterfly-shaped cake (Wilton pan), piped purple borders and simple wing marking patterns, bought skittles, M & M's, gumballs, and sweet/sour candies and assigned each of them one quarter of the cake space.
Look at those serious faces! They enjoyed it, as you can see in later pics, but they took the decorating seriously, carefully choosing their colors and gently placing the candies on the cake.
Look at those adorable faces!
I'm pretty sure Sydney LOVED her cake, aren't you?
In my family, as much as we love decorated cakes, we're not very big cake eaters. At least, not me and my siblings. We grew up the children of a cake decorator so while all of our friends were jealous of the presence of cake and buttercream in our house all the time, we got sick of it! We often laugh about what rotten kids we were to our Mom who would volunteer to make us any kind of outlandish birthday cakes we wanted but because we had so much cake around us every day we all requested things like my banana bread favorite, our brother Kenneth's angel food cake with no frosting, our dad and brother Carl's pie requests, and my sister Suzanne's Rice Krispy treat wish. What whiners we were! "Pleeeeeease, Mom. Do not make us eat cake!" What kind of sick children were we?
While we were planning Sydney and Kaylee's birthday party last week Suzanne and I were talking about cake, or the lack of it being okay, and told stories to the nieces and nephew about our childhood brattiness and the fact that Suzanne's wedding cake just out of high school (1988) was made of Rice Krispy treats because she emphatically did not want cake at her wedding. I see Rice Krispy cakes on Pinterest now all the time and people kind of verbally smack themselves in the head and comment "That's so cool! Why didn't I think of that?" I'm proud that our Mom was 25 years ahead of her time, making my sister's whole wedding cake from Rice Krispy treats and everyone at the wedding loved it. After that wedding Mom got tons of orders for rice krispy treat wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and anniversary cakes--she was a wedding cake pioneer in our little town in the Ozarks.
Smiling about all the stories we told, and already having planned to make Rice Krispy treats for the party, I decided to revive Mom's idea and go all the way with the girls' birthday and make it an unforgettable cake.
I'm pretty confidant the girls were pleased!
Kaylee was really nuts about it!
(Photo below: James demonstrating his "Dexter knife skills".)
After tweeting one night that grapefruit-flavored cake sounded "awful", as usually happens with my crazy family of foodies, the decision was made that we had to make it, bake it, and try it. Auntie Miranda volunteered her time and James volunteered his birthday--win/win!
After reading through several recipes, Auntie used her own baking skills to create her own version based on elements from different recipes and her own experience.
Our prounouncement: Delicious! Just like orange, lemon, or lime, grapefruit is just a twist, so to speak, on the citrus genre.
Thanks, Auntie, for introducing us to this new dish and for sharing your recipe!
Note: Please excuse the phone pics--forgot my camera.
I've spent so many years making huge, multi-page lists of goals, breaking them down all Franklin-Covey-ish into smaller goals, and those into smaller goals...and lasting the first few weeks keeping all those rules and regulations I've laid out for myself. And then I stop and feel the guilt, chastising myself to no end...that ends this year.
The one biggest goal for myself that has always rolled over each year is to publish. I have sold some short stories, a few craft patterns to magazines, etc., but with publishing the NICU knitting book I feel like I can relax. Not that I won't continue to write or knit, just that I can take the pressure off myself of that goal. It was a personal milestone and now I can continue on, creating and writing and dreaming new projects.
Between that and all the personal things I've learned this year, I decided to make up a much easier goal list this year, the kind of resolutions that will be no problem to accomplish and that will generally give me a little slack to be kinder to myself. I think that's the key. I've learned this year to be a little kinder to myself.
This is what I've learned in 2011:
Just because someone asks me to do something, I'm not obligated to to say "yes". A favor always has at least two answers: "yes" and "no" and variations in between. Saying "no" does not make me a bad person, nor is it a measure of my friendship or love. Saying "no" does not mean I have a bad attitude, am selfish, or that I'm not a "giving" person. However, on the heels of that, another thing I learned this year is that if I say No and the other person gets mad or demands to know why I can't/won't do the favor, that's a measure of THEIR friendship to me.
There are friends in my life that I get to spend relatively little time with due to family, jobs, distance, and life in general. It doesn't mean I love those friends less or that our friendship is any less strong because we're busy with the minutia of life. On the other hand, there are acquaintances who I think of as friends who are only around when they want something from me or I'm convenient for them. I have learned to trust my instincts. The heart knows the difference between the two.
I cannot take on the world or be all things to all people, nor can I fix anyone else's life, especially when I can hardly cope with my own sometimes. I have learned that when people talk to me about their problems what they mostly need is just someone supportive to listen, not someone to jump in and fix everything for them or to take on their problems. I no longer feel like Atlas. (No wonder I had back problems--the world is a heavy load!)
And the last thing I learned this year is that I really don't need to know everything bad about anybody. I don't even need to know everything at all about anybody. I've found that I really like relating to people at face value without gossip or negative thoughts rolling around in my head--it's so much more pleasant to assume everyone is nice and exactly what they appear to be, especially people whom I'm not particularly close to.
That's a lot of education that's been going on in my brain this year.
For 2012 my resolutions for my personal happiness are:
10) Take longer baths.
9) Smile at drama that plays out before me without becoming one of the cast.
8) Knit more things for myself.
7) Remember that two negatives only make a positive in multiplication.
6) Sleep in more, with no guilt.
5) Not give a crap at least twice/week about things that I have no control over.
4) Take more walks.
3) Share more time with family.
2) Curse more creatively.
and 1) Eat more bacon.
I made a pledge on Facebook that I would concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas this year by only giving small heart-felt gifts this year. Why Facebook? I was using the theory on myself that if I announced it to everyone I know then I would keep myself accountable to my pledge and NOT wimp out and suddenly go on a huge shopping spree out of last-minute desperation. Believe me, my friends live to give me hell so they were/are still watching me, ready to pounce, and that's what I love about them!
True to my word, I have knitted and sewed and crafted and now I've started cooking. I decided to take some old recipes that my mom made when I was a kid for food gifts and update them. I also picked out a couple of new recipes that intrigued me. The first of those is this bacon jam from the Martha Stewart web site. The web site says to spread it on bread as an appetizer. In my mind I could also see it served over cream cheese with crackers, or as a meat chutney to go top of ham or beef, maybe even as a filling for phyllo appetizers or baked on top of brie. It's an intriguing recipe. The combination of ingredients looked to produce something sweet and savory and wonderful, a unique gift, as well as an appetizer for our family Christmas get-together. I still believe that, but in this case, either the bacon or the crockpot decided to go all Stephen King on me and produced this malevolent mess.
Speaking of giving me hell, I'm just waiting for Auntie Miranda to speak up. I'm known for not being a Martha Stewart fan. In reality, I love her ideas, but something about her bugs the crap out of me when I watch her show. Shudder. It's the same thing that makes me turn the channel when Sandra Lee comes on. In theory, I like them both and their ideas, for different reasons of course, but watching them sets my teeth on edge. I don't know why, it's just a personal thing.
Bwahahahaha! Halloween--my very favorite holiday! And a family favorite as well. No matter how old "our" kids get, this will always be our tradition: get together at Aunt Gonnie and Uncle Gene's house, eat great creepy food, dress up or dress down, take any little ones trick-or-treating the neighborhood and just hang out..
This year our creepy food was all eyeball in theme. We didn't really plan it that way but as the eyeballs piled up we just kept running with them it: Gummy Eyeball Rice Cereal Treats, Devil's Eye Eggs, Blood Clot Cranberry Dip, I See You Meatballs, and just for fun, the un-eye-ball Mexican Villa Cheese Dip and Chips. There was also two crockpots full of chili and a few others goodies on the table like spinach dip, witch's pretzel/candy fingers, etc.
And now for recipes....
We watched and celebrated the game last night with good friends Jeff and Dee McKeel down in Nixa at Bumstead's. All of those things together made for a fantastic night! Great friends, great food, great drinks, great GAME! After the win, champagne was passed out to all the patrons and the owner (?) jumped up on the bar to lead a toast to our favorite red birds.
We all enjoyed being at Bumstead's. At first we thought there was no way we'd be able to get a table but we lucked out to spend a relaxed happy evening together. We'll definitely be going back! Check out the MENU