Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Home cooking

It always amazes me just how much needs to be done when we return home from a trip and how quickly we seem to fall into our normal routine. Having the suitcases around irks me so during our first two days home I managed to wash and put away all the laundry from both our Aruba and U.K. trips and all the suitcases have been emptied and put away. I sorted through weeks worth of accumulated mail making three piles. The first and easiest was the trash pile and thankfully that got rid of a big portion of the paper. The second pile was bills and things that need to be read but could wait a few days before opening. And the third pile was my favorite, all the holiday cards which I opened immediately. Thank you to everyone who sent a card as I truly appreciate and enjoy opening and reading every one of them and especially seeing all the wonderful pictures. Each year I have good intentions of getting out a holiday card but somehow I never seem to get my act together and then Thanksgiving is upon us, we're off to Aruba and then it's Christmas and I've missed another year.

For me, one of the most difficult parts of traveling is eating out all the time. I do enjoy going out to restaurants here and there, especially trying new foods or things that I don't make at home but in all honesty I really like my own cooking and I miss it when we're away. So on our first morning home I went grocery shopping and purchased over $50 of just veggies plus other groceries and then went on a two day cooking binge. I roasted broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, yellow summer squash, Chinese eggplant, carrots and Maisie's new favorite, parsnips which she thinks are french fries*. Then since it's so brutally cold here I decided to make some nice hearty food too and in each instance I made extra as I figured, why not get a couple of meals for my effort so I'm stocking the freezer. I made Red Curry Soup, Bolognase Sauce, Hearty Beef Curry and a new recipe, Guinness Braised Short Ribs.

Eammon said that the house smelled wonderful with all the cooking but I couldn't tell as I'm sick and have absolutely no sense of taste or smell. Though I follow basic recipes, I found it quite odd and a bit difficult to cook missing these senses as I realized that I do check for balance of flavors and the right smell to make sure that everything is seasoned properly. Eammon did a lot of taste-testing for me and gave everything big thumbs up.

Well as I mentioned above, I'm sick but it's me in the winter so what else is new. Just before leaving for England I found out that I had pneumonia...for the fourth stinking year in a row. Thankfully it was caught early and I got onto antibiotics so that by the time I finished the course I was feeling significantly better. But then we were walking all around London in the cold, staying up too late at night, eating lots of not-the-best-for-you foods and well, I guess the pneumonia wasn't completely cleared up as my chest started feeling awful again. So first thing Monday morning I was booking a sick appointment with the doc. I still have a touch of pneumonia but it's no worse than it was when we left for England, so that's a good thing. What's exacerbating the problem is that I now also have a sinus infection which is causing me to drain and drip so much into my lungs that I can't handle it and end up coughing much more than I would with just the pneumonia. So now I have to do another course of super expensive antibiotics, a medrol dose pack (steroids) to help quickly reduce all the swelling and open everything up, Nasonex, Mucinex and codeine cough syrup at night so that I can sleep. Lucky me, by the 4th day of the new year I reached the deductible on my meds!

Today was Maisie's first day back to school and gymnastics. She's still a little off schedule with the time change but she had a very good day at school. Unfortunately though, she only managed a very brief nap before we had to head off to gymnastics. She was dragging a bit and that combined with her regular coach being out on maternity leave, she was a little out-of-sorts at the gym. She then decided that she just wanted to watch for a bit and told her coach that she wasn't feeling well. I went down from the viewing area to find out what was going on and Maisie told coach Dena and I that she was suffering with hypochondria, which totally cracked up Dena. I asked her if she needed a placebo to help her and she said yes. I told her that I had a placebo at home for later but that by participating it would help her feel better and that after practice I'd have a treat for her. Sure enough, after practice and eating her mint stick she said her hypochondria was better.

This morning when I returned home from dropping Maisie at school, something outside caught my eye and when I looked there was, what I think is a hawk sitting on the top of our umbrella pole so I snapped a piccie.

Maisie went to bed early and will hopefully sleep through the night and get back on a good schedule. My meds are already kicking in, especially the steroids making my breathing easier and I have no plans to be out in the cold so hopefully I'll be better soon. We're expecting a dusting of snow later this week so I'm sure school will be cancelled...hey it's the south so even a threat of snow closes the schools. My feeling, potentially one less day I have to venture out in the cold.

* I peel then cut the parsnips into pointer finger sized "fries", toss with some olive oil, thinly sliced onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder then roast at 450F until they start to caramelize and get a little crunchy on the outside. They need to be turned a couple of times while they cook so that all the sides brown up a bit. Maisie dips them in ketchup and gobbles them up so who am I to tell her that they're not real fries.


  1. I am the same as you with the suitcase, laundry and mail. The cooking, not so much. I have to have take out the days I am doing hte laundry. Totally going to try the parsnips. I have never eaten them. I am sorry you are sick. My hubby got pnemonia 3 years in a row and I had him get the shot for it. He has been pnemonia free for 6 years now. Have you thought about it? Sending love your way!

  2. The big suitcase still has some odds and ends in it from Christmas travels but the laundry is done. I also did a crazy amount of home cooking when we returned but was motivated by different factors. Turned out Mama Dog was ill and only homemade chicken soup could cure her. So while I was making stock, I made enough chicken to do up some Mexican food. I love the story about Maisie and her "condition". Children say the most delightful things! Welcome home, I hope you feel better soon and let's plan to get together in the next 12 months, ok?

  3. I cannot believe you are sick again - you poor thing! We had colds in our house all of November and part of December. We just kept passing it around to each other. Blah!

    Well, a few school districts are closing early - which I think is hilarious! The "snow" (which won't be much of anything I think) isn't going to be here until dinner time or after!

    Maisie's "condition" is hilarious! I know a few people that have hypochondria too. :)

    Let me know when you are feeling better and we'll get together!

  4. The picture of the hawk is amazing!

    I know it is horrible to laugh when someone is ill, but I just couldn't help myself when reading about Maisie's illness. LOL
    I'm so glad she was better a little later!

    I hope you are feeling better too!

    I love the roasted veggie idea. I am going to try that. Do you roast everything at 450?

  5. I've been wondering how your trips went. Sorry about being sick. I haven't had pneumonia in almost 2 yrs but when I get it, it becomes really bad really fast. The last time the doctor looked at me and said, "If you would like I could admit you to the hospital." I didn't have time to sit in a hospital so I got a couple of shots and strong meds and went home!

    Love the photo of the hawk. We have them sitting on our fence or neighboring fences quite frequently. I haven't had a chance to snap a photo of one though.


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