Saturday, January 30, 2016

Blessings in Disguise?

My house is clean, groceries are purchased, and I've been cooking and baking like crazy this week. I planned it all out to make sure that everything at home glides smoothly along during my hospital stay and for the first week or two after I get home. I was so well organized with my to do list. What could possibly go wrong?

Famous last words. How did I get trapped in an episode of "I Love Lucy?

One "oops" after another.

Oops #1. Surgery is on Monday. I'm supposed to come home on Wednesday and, as my husband is unable to come to the hospital, my children have been planning to take turns sitting with me Monday evening and most of Tuesday. Now, the weather forecast calls for a blizzard and heavy snow on Tuesday. Eight inches or more, they say. The worst storm of the season, they say. Good grief!

Oops #2. Snow always blows down from the roof and lands right in front of our door and makes deep drifts on our driveway. Ed, who does our snow removal, had surgery yesterday. He'll be available in about six weeks.

Oops  #3. I broke my oven. Honestly. I broke it. It happened like this. I took the blueberry pound cakes out of the oven and turned it off, but, I turned the knob to "self clean" rather than "off". (Why are those two settings right together like that?) Then, instead of hitting "end" to stop the self cleaning, I accidentally hit "start". The door began to lock, so I panicked and yanked it open. I hit "end" again. And again. The oven was getting hotter. So, I raced downstairs and switched off the fuse for the range. After a few minutes I reset the fuse. The oven cooled down, but the lock mechanism for the self-clean is frozen. It sticks out and the door can't close all the way. 

Oops #4. I called the appliance repair folks. With parts and labor charges, replacement of the lock mechanism on the oven is about the same cost as buying a new range! 

Oops #5. I was all done with the second kitty block for the 2016 quilt along. I thought it was a darling block, so I showed it to Shelley, my cat loving friend. "Oh, how adorable," she exclaimed. Then she leaned back and frowned. "Those are awfully big pencils," she said, "or the kittens are awfully tiny. But it's still cute." Oh dear. Back to the drawing board. 
Pencils too fat? Kittens too small? Maybe both.
Blessings in Disguise 

Blessing #1. On Tuesday, I will be in a place with food, electricity, and all the help I need.  My children have promised to stay home and safe if the roads are bad. We have phones to keep the hubby up to date. :)

Blessing #2. My neighbor with the snow blower has offered to help out and clear our driveway and sidewalk of snow! Good neighbors are a true blessing.

Blessing #3. The burners on the stove work fine, so, although baking came to a halt, I made potato-bacon soup and two stove-top casseroles. In the process, I invented a new casserole recipe that my hubby really likes.

Blessing #4. I'm getting a new range! My range is ancient. The oven temperature is uneven and one burner is unpredictable, but I've been putting off replacing it. Delivery is scheduled for Thursday, the day after I come home from the hospital.

Blessing #5. I've started fiddling with the quilt block design a bit today and I'll have some time to work on it tomorrow. The pattern will be delayed until later in the month, but it will be so much better with everything more proportional.

A final blessing - 
Slowly, but surely, we are moving toward spring. 
February, the month of love, is only two days away!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Getting Ready for Surgery and Chicken Noodle Soup

I've been putting off this surgery, but I want to get it done quickly now so that I'll be fully recovered and full of energy before summer. I have no qualms about showing my age on the outside, but when the insides start to droop, life can become just a bit uncomfortable. Best to hitch it all up before it becomes a real problem.

The procedure is scheduled for a week from tomorrow, and that means I have a long, long list of things to do this week.

I'll spend two nights in the hospital, so I bought new pajamas first. I grabbed a couple of pairs of sweatpants, too. Petites are too short, mediums, too long. Sweats get shortened today. It's on my list.

Don't tell anyone, but since I was so close to the quilt shop across town I dropped in. Just to look around, and  ...  I know, fabric wasn't on my list. Hush! Don't tell!

Among other things on list, I'm doing some advance cooking for my freezer. I started yesterday with an easy soup, of course. Chicken noodle this time. In case you hadn't noticed, I do love soup, and it freezes so well for those times when there simply isn't time or energy to cook a meal.

This soup starts out with aromatic veggies and chicken broth for the base just like most of my other soup recipes do. The rest is pretty basic, and exact proportions are completely up to the cook. I used my crock pot so I could leave the soup cooking while I ran errands, but this soup turns out just as well if it simmers slowly in a pot on the stove top.

If making this with chicken thighs instead of breasts, the chicken broth can be eliminated.

Chicken Noodle Soup
  • 1/2 chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 12 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, diced  
  • 1 T parsley flakes
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 oz. fettuccine or egg noodles
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water

1. In a heavy skillet, saute onions until translucent.

2. Add garlic and chicken breasts. Flavor with salt. Saute until the chicken pieces are lightly browned on all sides. 

3. When the chicken is browned, place all ingredients except the noodles into a slow cooker or a stew pot and cover with water. Allow to cook until the vegetables are tender and cooked through.

4. Add the noodles and enough water to completely cover them. Simmer for another 15 - 20 minutes or until the noodles are cooked.


I'll post more about my preparations for surgery next weekend. I've only made a dent in my to do list. 

Have a beautiful last week of January!