Bits & Bites

We will be traveling for holiday joy with family. Well, at least one side of the family (mine) is joyful during this season. A side trip to Sanibel Island for a few days won’t make up for the missed vacation in Hawaii but should provide enough beach time for the family excitement ahead.

The critters and house always get tremendous care from our wonderful pet-sitting company, Nunn Better. Seneca does an amazing job with her staff, and our “Pack” usually has their favorite gal, Aubrey, to spoil them rotten when we travel. Of course we would rather they romp on the beach with us and visit their puppy cousins. I do worry about them. Ha! They are too busy enjoying respite from us and happy to avoid kennel-care.

Betsy & Scruffy

PeeTee & Lucy

After a reaaallllly long weight-loss plateau, I have dropped a few pounds. I continue to be fascinated how my body shape changes even without losing much weight. Don’t say I am toning up because my physical activity still is not up to pre-mastectomy level, but at least I’m moving again without discomfort. Although my goal seems to be only 14-pounds away, I think maintenance for me will hit when I can fit into the pair of really tight size 10 pants hanging. Who knows? Who cares. I’m pretty much eating what I plan to eat for life except there will be no hesitancy for treats in the future. This time of year. with my seasonal affective disorder flaring and the associated carb urge, it is a bit dangerous to venture away from my mantra: no grains, starch, added sugar.

My favorite/only plastic surgeon insisted on a huge hug rather than a handshake at the start of our visit this week. “What, after all we’ve been through you just want to shake my hand?” So, I pressed my artificial boobs into his chest and then flash him. “Are you satisfied with this?” I ask. He tells me I look great for just a little over 2 months since my tissue expanders were replaced with silicone. Scars are healing well. Skin flab might be removed after weight loss is done, depends on if I want more scars. We discuss how one foob hangs lower. Most women’s breasts are not even. I just never noticed because mine were hanging at my waist. He did not use any tissue matrix (we agreed) to reinforce the lower poles of the “pockets” holding my implants. So, I do have to watch and see if that one foob drops any lower. My symmastia (uniboob) has not recurred but I’m still at high risk for up to 2 years. In other words, I am like many women who undergo breast reconstruction after breast cancer – over 25% will require additional surgery after “permanent” implants are placed. I ain’t planning on it, but I am aware. The next step is to get nipple tattoos. (Just in case you were dying to know.) No nipple reconstruction. I don’t want “headlights” all the time, and the Barbie look is kinda weird. We are planning a trip to Baltimore in the spring to have mine done by a tattoo artist who works with academic reconstruction centers across the country. Always wanted a tattoo. Just thought it might be a green sea turtle…

Leaving you with a link to a fun read from the New York Times: Holiday Gifts From Your Kitchen Even non-chefs like make me can make healthy, lemon olive oil and dress it up in a pretty container.

Be reading you on the interwebs!

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all

Dad making egg noodles

My Dad making traditional holiday noodles, 2010

I certainly will miss being with all of my family this Thanksgiving. The holiday means so much more than food to us. BUT, my father makes the best egg noodles in the world. Missing you extra this year – Dad, Teresa, Denise, Scott, Kim, Lainey, Gary, Ann and my extended family Helen and Lin.

Edited to add recipe:

Dad’s German Egg Noodles

Serves about 6

  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder per c of flour
  • Broth

Sift flour and baking powder together. Make a “well” of dry ingredients and add eggs. Stir eggs into flour mixture until dough is formed. Separate dough into halves. Roll out into very thin layer. (No pasta machines allowed per my Dad!) 😉 Roll the layer into a cylinder then cut noodles ~ ¼ inch wide. Repeat with other half of dough. Allow to air dry thoroughly. They do well especially hanging from chandeliers overnight.

Make your favorite broth. Start with about 6 cups of boiling broth and slowly add a handful of dried noodles at a time, stirring thoroughly so they do not stick together. Add broth to your family’s desired consistency and simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes stirring frequently to keep noodles from clumping and from sticking to pan. (Gosh, a non-stick pan would have been so much easier all those years.) Salt flavor should come from broth. Much tasting is needed…

Enjoy the flavorful carbohydrate goodness that only comes twice a year.

Chilly (Chili) Weather!

I am no cook, but dang if I ain’t a Texan, which means any time the temp drops below 60° thoughts turn to chili… Now there are zillions of ways to cook chili. The only requisite seems to be putting something in a pot and adding chili and cumin seasonings. The remainder of the ingredients are up to the individual chef. Being from Texas (well, mostly), I should never add beans, but my own native-born Texas-belle Mom always put beans in her chili and so do I. (Insert flatulence jokes here.)  I really can’t give the family recipe because it varies depending on what is in the pantry and what amount of heat and protein folks prefer. Here was last night’s version:

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey

2 links Italian sweet pork sausage removed from casing

1 sweet onion diced

1 green pepper diced

2 cups celery chopped

3 diced cloves of garlic

2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes

1 28-0z can whole peeled tomatoes

2 small cans green chiles – substitute hotter peppers as desired

3 cans of beans drained and rinsed – pinto, black, kidney were available last night

handful of fresh cilantro leaves chopped (adjust to taste)

Ground cumin

Red chili seasoning

Package of chili seasoning mix (mild or hot – your call)

Directions:

Brown meat in a skillet.

In a large pot, saute onions, green pepper, celery, and garlic in EVOO (or your version of oil). Add tomatoes, chili and cumin to taste (start with about 2 T of each then go from there). Add in meat, beans, seasoning mix, and cilantro. Partially cover and simmer for at least 3 hours. Tastes much better the next day. My sister always adds grated cheese and sour cream, but I forgo these delights so I can eat more chili! Cornbread is yummy with this (sigh).

To make this vegetarian – just forget the meat and go with more and different types of veggies.

 

 

Southwestern Cranberry Relish

In my new zest (maybe intention is a more appropriate word) to cook I decided to contribute at the almost-last-minute to Cammy’s Virtual Holiday Potluck. Courtesy from one of Sue’s work colleagues, we tried this delightful turn on a cranberry dish for our Thanksgiving feast – hey, this is Tucson after all.  Actually, there were three types of cranberry dishes on our table because they are just so yummy, and scientific evidence is mounting as to the health benefits from phytochemicals. The texture, mixture of warmth and tanginess, and generous use of cilantro was a great hit. We will be using variations of this year round!

So here is the recipe as scrawled on  a scrap of paper from the operating room:

Southwestern Cranberry Relish

1 bag cranberries

Brown sugar to taste – start with ~ ½ cup (artificial version for fewer calories)

1 8-ounce can Tidbit Pineapple with juice (no sugar added)

2 jalapeños – seeded for less heat. Try serrano peppers for true heat

Fresh cilantro to taste – the amount here really goes by taste and can easily overwhelm the dish.

Pulse in blender until desired consistency.

picture of cranberry relish