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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chemo Toes

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Chemo toes…not camel, girlfriends, chemo as in chemotherapy. I apologize for the picture because toes are ugly and creepy, but I need to make a point. I have a blackish band across the nails of my big toes. In January I had one treatment of chemo. My hair fell out. The nurse told me this chemo medication wouldn’t make ALL my hair fall out, and also not as fast. Well, she was right. It made MOST of my hair fall out and at no time should a woman feel it’s okay to sport a Gollum haircut–so I had the rest shaved off.

Anyway, because of the chemo every finger nail and toenail on my body had this black streak across the nail bed at the cuticle. All of them have since grown out, but I’m waiting for those big toes to clear. I took all the polish off the nails in anticipation of this. I think it will give me such satisfaction to finally trim the last bit off. It’s been two weeks, but they are still there.

Last week, one of my friends shared with me, out of the blue, that she has some kind of fungus under her toenails. She told me that one good tip is to use Vicks Vapor Rub and put it under your nail that’s infected. I thought, “This is weird. Why is she telling me this?” It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I had strappy sandals on when I saw her and she must have seen the black streaks! Ack! People! I really like my friend. She is a sweetheart, and I’m sure she was trying to be helpful, but I thought I’d share this with you so maybe, just maybe, you won’t be so quick to assume a cancer patient has foot fungus.

Have a great day! And mind your manners! 😉

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Tri-Berry Muffins

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This morning I woke up way too early and had lots of time to play in the kitchen. I decided to try Ina Garten’s Tri-Berry Muffins again. They’re a family favorite even though I think they never turn out correctly. Apparently, she got the recipe from Sarah Leah Chase, who had a mishap and forgot to add the sugar until the last minute which resulted in crunchy muffins. I LOVE crunchy stuff. I’ve been making these for years, and not once have they ever turned out. The bottoms always burn, and there are uncooked spots which makes the texture weird. But still the family loves them.

Today I decided to make them the way Sarah was supposed to make them in the first place–with the sugar thrown in with the dry ingredients–and they came out dreamy! When my hubby got home he made a point to thank me for his muffin (I stuck one in his lunch bag) and to tell me, “That was SOME muffin!” 🙂 The crumb was perfect, and the muffin was cooked all through. It usually takes a couple days to eat them all, but they’re all gone today.

Forgive me for the picture. I told you I love crunchy stuff, so I sprinkled some sanding sugar over the tops before I baked them. The reason they look a little strange is I used red sugar because I was too lazy to go to the pantry and hunt for the white sanding sugar–it was four a.m. Also, I baked them in the middle of the oven because the bottoms usually burn any lower, so the tops got very brown.

Tri-Berry Muffins by Ina Garten

Sift together:
3 cups all purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

Mix:
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 1/4 cups Milk
2 Extra Large Eggs, lightly beaten

Add to the dry ingredients. And stir in:
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup of diced fresh strawberries

Optional (but you really should):
Sprinkle each muffin with sanding sugar (also called caster sugar)

Bake at 375* for 20 minutes.

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Raspberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

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Raspberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

A few weeks ago I decided to take a jaunt into Key Lime Pie making territory. My friend, Brenda, makes the most luscious Key Lime Pie. I’ve asked her for the recipe, but since she hadn’t given it to me I informed her that I saw Key limes at Wal-Mart (hinted–really) and she baked one for me! Now why should I learn to bake that pie when I have someone willing to make a perfect one for me? It’s called greediness. That AND I’m ashamed to let Brenda know what an OINK I can be. I’m sure she wouldn’t want me asking her for a couple pies every week. So, I baked Martha’s recipe which was actually quite scrumptious, but it was not Brenda’s pie.

Last week I made a Mocha Cheesecake that I took to Bible study. This means I only got to have one-sixteenth of the cheesecake. So, yesterday I was craving cheesecake. I perused my Pinterest Baking board and found a recipe for Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. I thought, “Perfect! I have all the ingredients.” Except my blueberries had shriveled up–every one of them. I figured I would use the raspberries instead. I had planned to make raspberry limeade…and this is where inspiration struck. Why not use limes instead of lemon? It could be a new concoction I could call Raspberry Limeade Cheesecake.

So here is what I came up with. Just know that my cheesecake bars blows Brenda’s pie out of the water!

Raspberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar

-Mix in 9 x 13″ pan and press to the bottom with a fork, bake at 350* for 12 minutes, cool

Cheesecake
(4) 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
zest and juice from 4 key limes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 pints Fresh raspberries

-cream the cheese and zest
-with mixer still on, slowly add sugar
-add eggs one at a time, waiting after each addition until the yolk is mixed in well
-add the lime juice and flour and mix until combined
-pour into cooled crust and dot with fresh raspberries
-bake at 350* for 35 minutes or until set and the middle jiggles slightly when you shake the pan
-let cool completely, or not

The cheesecake really tastes like Key Lime pie, except denser and yummier, and the berries add such a bright bite and complementary flavor.

Enjoy!

My Mayberry

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I live in a small town. Well, it’s actually big enough to have lots of traffic on the main street that runs through the town. I like to think we live in Mayberry–you know, Andy Griffith’s fictional town. When at the car dealership to have my truck serviced, I sit in the waiting room and wait for the next person to come in the door. You know how awkward that moment is for most people: you step through the door into a waiting room full of people looking back at you, you don’t look at anyone as you shuffle to the nearest vacant seat as every head turns to look you up and down. Here, in my Mayberry, more often than not, the person coming through the door says, “Good morning!”

The first time I witnessed this I couldn’t help but wonder if this particular person was a little “touched in the head” or something. But no sooner had he found a seat when another person, this one a woman, came through that door with, “Good morning! Hi! How you doin’?” I am a little slow sometimes, but I realized right away “I’m in MAYBERRY!” And I hugged myself. These people are just the friendliest people! So far we’ve met a retired Mathematics professor, a retired teacher, a nurse, a retired doctor, an Army woman, a few grandmas, and some business people. These people will share stories about their lives, their past jobs, hobbies, and inquire about you! The time flies by and everyone enjoys themselves. When someone’s car is ready, they get up and pay and then say, “Goodbye y’all! Have a nice day!” Or “See you again!”

I have lived on the outskirts of buzzing metropolises where my next door neighbor refused to say hello whenever I smiled and waved at her for three and a half years! Even Honolulu is one big metropolis where people aren’t really friendly, and even your “friends” may or may not say hello to you on any given day. Try chatting with a cashier, barista, or store clerk in these places and they look at you like you just kicked their dog.

In my Mayberry, we live in a rural neighborhood with a stocked pond for fishing. We take two walks and one bike ride everyday. We know most of our neighbors by name and when we see each other we wave or call out to one another or even stop for a chat. Many of them have invited us over “anytime”, and they mean it. Our neighbors across the way came over when they saw me struggling to start the lawnmower, and offered to mow the lawn for me. Our lawn is an acre and a half! I’ve been invited on walks, to Zumba classes, and over for tea. Three of my neighbors check in with me regularly to see how my recovery is going. Our newspaper usually has high school sports as front page news.  Many of the clerks at Wal-Mart and the grocery store know us by name.

The euphoria I experienced, at first, was exhilarating. For the first year I couldn’t get over the feeling that we were camping in a pretty nice cabin in the woods. Life here is idyllic and we are truly blessed, however, a few things happened to knock the euphoria out of me and end the honeymoon. First, I discovered what it means to have and care for a septic tank. You’d think we’d have progressed beyond these tanks if the world and civilization have been around as long as some people like to claim.

Second, I paid a landscaper an enormous amount of cash to landscape three sides of my house. While sitting in the dining room doing school, I listened as one of his workers says, “She seems intelligent. She doesn’t seem like an idiot. Look, she’s homeschooling her kids.” Because I didn’t want to let them know I could hear them I continued to correct my son’s composition, but I can just imagine the faces or hand signals the landscaper was pulling. He didn’t do the work we agreed on and in the end he left with half the supplies that I paid for! Jerk. He was right; I am an idiot. But this idiot won’t hire HIM twice and you can bet anyone who asks will be told not to patronize his business.

Third, there are many little things such as: the “mall” can be walked in three minutes flat, there is no Starbucks (coming soon), we have only Wal-Mart (no Target), there are more businesses out of business than in business. We have to drive a good hour and a half to get to a decent mall, or two and a half to get to a luxury mall. I say these are little things because they aren’t deal breakers and they’ve actually added to a slower pace of life than we’re used to.

Both the county sheriff and the city sheriff  live in my neighborhood which should make me feel all safe and warm, until we read on the front page that one of them was being investigated for activities in a drug ring.  When we first arrived my hubby suggested I take a concealed weapons class, and then bought me a cute little gun with pink grips.  The guy in the gun shop tells me to always carry my gun on me…even at home, especially at home.  When I asked why, he told me that people like to knock on doors around here and when you open the door they bust in and rob you or worse.  He suggested two different types of ammunition:  a “safety one” you can use in the house that won’t punch through walls and hit your kids, and another kind that will punch holes through car doors “because you never know when you may need to shoot through a car door.”  Okay, this is very un-Mayberry-like; but now I prefer to think of myself as an Aunt Bee-type packing heat.  I loved shooting so much that I bought a shotgun, too.  My Mayberry may be all in my head, but it will be well protected.