Monthly Archives: June 2013

Things I Shouldn’t Blog About

It has been two weeks and one day since my surgery, and today was a big day for me.  I drove my car.  I drove it about 10 blocks to the post office, bought stamps, drove back to my apartment and promptly took a nap.

Yesterday, I painted my nails. Bubble Bath Pink.

I’ve been really obsessed with my belly lately. Putting my hand where the bump used to be, checking the swelling, trying on clothes every day to see if they fit differently.

Every time I watch a tv show (which is all day), I pretend I’m the main character and construct elaborate fantasies about having a life. any life.

I get excited about taking a shower. Because it’s something to do.

I sent a text to my best friend that said only, “My right breast is significantly larger than my left.”

While online shopping today, I stumbled across these pants.  That’s all I have to say about that.

I think I’m going to start drinking scotch.

I am so bored.

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Baking Under the Influence: Granola Bar Cookies

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This probably wasn’t the greatest idea.

If I thought blow drying my hair was hard, I probably shouldn’t have attempted baking cookies 9 days after major surgery.

My adventure required a few extra ingredients in addition to the normal butter, flour, sugar and eggs. These included:

1 prescription pain killer (for me, not in the cookies)
1 cane (no lion handle, but it really does help)
1 office chair on wheels to roll around the kitchen (my mom’s idea, and it was genius)
2 worried parents who found me sitting the floor trying to get the hand mixer out of the cabinet
1 nap after thoroughly exhausting myself

Not my best work, but I got off the couch and made cookies. I’m pumped.

Recipe adapted from Sugar Plum Blog’s Peanut Butter-Honey Oatmeal Cookies

Oat and Honey Granola Bar Cookies

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
not quite 1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup cashew pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast oats in the oven by placing them on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Once oats are toasted, remove from oven and turn oven up to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to brown and foam. Be careful not to burn it; stir frequently.

In a small to medium sized bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda

In a large bowl, beat together (on medium speed) the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and honey. Mix just until creamy, then beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Beat in flour mixture slowly and then add oats. The mixture will be very thick, just take your time.  Stir in cashews.

When placing cookies on baking sheet, form into balls and then slightly flatten them. The cookies wont spread much while baking, and should basically hold their shape. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.

 

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Face Yoga and Other Post Surgery Musings

I have to admit that so far, 2013 has not been the year I hoped it would be.  Since February, I’ve spent a lot of time at the doctor, and after a LOT of tests, second opinions, worrying, and buying stretch pants, I finally had a Myomectomy last Wednesday.  The surgery, my first ever, was successful. They removed the tumor (it was 15 cm and weighed 1.5 lbs) while still keeping the rest of my uterus in working order. I am incredibly thankful for the skilled surgeon and the great nurses who took such good care of me.

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Here I am, the first night after surgery with my life-long friend, Roger Maris Raccoon.

It is now day 8 of my recovery (expected to take 4-6 weeks) and I’ve had my ups and downs.  My dear friend, Morphine, was taken away from me far too soon, but it was a glorious relationship while it lasted. The day I left the hospital, I had some sort of reaction to my new pain killer and spent the day (and the 2 hour drive to my parents’ house) throwing up.  Throwing up, by the way, after you’ve just had abdominal surgery is especially not fun.  But my parents took good care of me, and I eventually was able to keep some food and pain medicine down, and after a long sleep I felt a lot better.

Being confined to the house with limited mobility is not something I’m used to, and the adjustment isn’t easy.  All my body wants to do is sleep, but all I want to do is put real clothes on and do something.

My sister, who anticipated this from me, wrote me a a pre-surgery email (she is currently in Korea) where she included a list of possible activities to keep me occupied. Here are her suggestions:

Have you thought of a hobby to take up while you’re on bed-rest?! Here are some suggestions:
 
 – Write a lot of haiku. (Google informs me “haikus” is not a word. Haiki? Also not a word. Hmm.)
 – Learn a foreign language. Something practical, like maybe, Swahili.
 – Face yoga. http://youtu.be/b2mrx3PSiDE
 – Crochet socks for me. Everyone loves socks. Especially me.
 – Calligraphy
 – Juggling. I feel pretty sure you can do this in bed. 
 
If I think of any more, I’ll let you know. But you also have to keep blogging. Even if you don’t bake for a while. Blog!

I’m pretty excited about the face yoga, but before I tackle juggling and Swahili, I thought I would take her advise and blog.  I have  no delicious recipe to share with you yet since it is hard to bake from bed, but I do have lots of feelings. And I am sure there will be plenty of time for baking later.

Today was really the first day that I got really restless.  I got out of bed to eat my lunch, and when I started crying over my Chinese food for no reason, my mom decided to intervene.  The solution was a change of location – I hobbled from the couch to the back porch – a small bowl of ice cream, and a game of Boggle with my English teacher mother that I DOMINATED. I might be a lousy speller, but I still KILL it when it comes to word games.

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After Boggle, I needed a nap (sitting up for that long is really exhausting), but I was still restless, and after a while I decided that I was  probably also pretty smelly.  I’m able to take showers – standing up that long makes me tired – but it is totally doable – and just thinking about  a fresh nightgown and clean hair made me feel better already. I decided not to stop with just the shower, but I also really wanted to dry my hair. My hair is naturally curly, and I’ve definitely been sporting the natural look lately.  But today, I really wanted to dry  it.  There was no way I was messing with a hair straightener, but I figured I could handle using the blow dryer to at least get it relatively straight.  But, after all the standing in the shower, I was too tired to stay on my feet.  My solution: I sat down on the floor of the bathroom and dried my hair. I leaned against the wall, closed my eyes, and dried my hair.  The only problem was that when I was done, I found that I was stuck, and had to call my Mom to come haul me to my feet. But, it was worth it. My hair is big and frizzy and not styled, but it is dry. I win.

In other news, I’ve decided that I could get around a lot faster if I had a cane. I’m thinking this bad-ass one with a lion handle will do the trick.

The road to recovery is going to be interesting and longer than I would like, but I am so thankful that I am on my way to being healthy again, that it wasn’t worse, and that I have such a loving, supportive family and group of friends to help me through it.  I’ve already received so many beautiful flowers, chocolates, baked goods, and casseroles.  Surgery was not part of my 2013 plan, but it happened, and I’m planning on making the most of it.

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I Choose Chocolate

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I am horrible at making decisions. To call me indecisive doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Eanie Meanie Miney Mo is a common decision making tool in my arsenal; so is closing my eyes and pointing.  If I have a date, I spend most of my time beforehand praying that he’ll just make all the plans so that I don’t have a panic attack.

My favorite places to eat are places that have a limited menu.   Raising Canes in Columbus, Ohio – you’re getting chicken fingers, just tell them how many. Happy Dog in Cleveland – they give you a check sheet. All you have to do is put a check mark next to the toppings you want. This still takes me forever, by the way, the list is really long, but it keeps things pretty simple, comparatively.

My latest way to combat my inability to make decisions is to just have someone else decide for me. It started with “surprise beer.” One of my friends one night told the bartender just to pour him a surprise beer, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before. I don’t feel bad doing this because I  really am the least picky person you will ever meet (when it comes to food and booze at least). I always let the bartender or server know up front that I like everything and they can’t possibly disappoint me. I’m so ridiculous that I’d actually rather drink a beer I only sort of like that someone else chose for me than pick one out myself. I know. I have issues.

Lately, I’ve extended the surprise beer idea to the ordering of the whole meal. I try not to do it too often, but if the server seems like they’d be up for it, I’ll often just tell them to pick something for me.  Again, there’s usually almost nothing I won’t like, and they probably know better than me what the best dishes on the menu are anyway. So far, it’s worked out great.

But, when it comes to choosing what I’m going to bake, I don’t normally have the same problems as I do at bars and restaurants. Probably because I’m at home and there’s no pressure (real or imaginary) for me to pick the right thing. I just make whatever I feel like. Lately, I’ve felt like chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 squares semisweet chocolate, chopped (or 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips)
6 tablespoons butter, cut up
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coffee extract*
2 large eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1/3 cup cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and let cool.
Stir in sugar, vanilla extract, coffee extract until blended.  Stir in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Don’t worry if the batter is a bit thin. Stir in the nuts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and cacao nibs.

Drop tablespoons of batter and inch(ish) apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 14 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet a couple minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

*Instead of coffee extract, you can just use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I had to get creative when I ran out of vanilla mid-pour

Note:  Feel free to get creative with the chips. You can use pecans instead of walnuts, or along with, and you can substitute regular chocolate chips, white chocolate, peanut butter chips, or whatever else you happen to have on hand. As long as you use the same proportions, it should be fine. I just used what I had hanging out in my pantry.

(recipe adapted from “Triple Chocolate Chubbies” from Good Housekeeping’s Great Baking)

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