The Pre Years – a Fandango Flashback Friday Challenge

For Fandango’s Flashback Friday Challenge – a tidbit about life back in 2018, pre-brain surgery, pre-pandemic, pre-hailstorm.

3/18/18 It’s All About Balance

When you’re a spoonie with a family of 2 with chronic and autoimmune diseases, kitchen work can be a considerable challenge. We follow two similar yet different diets at our house. I follow WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) diet, Superhubs is primarily pescetarian. He eats fish, generally once a day, egg whites as an ingredient and occasionally chicken if we eat out. He’s extremely particular about the type and preparation of fish, hence the occasional chicken and eschews all forms of dairy. We eat LOTS of beans, tofu a couple times per week. Since we are in “travel mode” right now, we eat simple and rather more “packaged” food than we normally would. Today we’re not moving but still follow the same principles. A quick look at our menu for today.

Breakfast: Museli for SH, quick oats for me.

AM snack: SH – 1/2 banana, 1/2 sheet graham cracker, 1/4 cup nuts

Me – 1/2 banana, 1 rice cake

Lunch: Soup with toasted cheese sandwiches, veggie sticks, chips

PM snack: Both – homemade oil-free hummus, crackers, cuties

Dinner: Saag Aloo with chickpea curry

Dessert: Fruit plate, 1/2 spelt muffin w/almond butter (homemade pumpkin butter for me)

As you can see, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It equates in spoon usage to a part time job. I’ll also do some writing (fiction project) in addition to this and some housework. Trying to figure out how to fit in some exercise since it’s snowing and blowing and too cold outside for my lungs. If the roads clear enough, we may try some “walmart walking” after lunch.

It’s always a challenge, to balance everything, enough rest, enough exercise, nutrition and convenience. The scale moves both ways and every day is different. I tell my yoga learners that balance is not a static thing. Stand in any one leg pose and feel the tiny adjustments your muscles make, especially your feet. Life is like that, balance isn’t something you just find, it’s a thousand tiny adjustments every day that give us the feeling of solidity. Life is always in motion and you have to roll with it. Nowhere is this more true than in the life of a spoonie. A healthy recipe for Saag Aloo (spinach and potatoes) in the slow cooker and a pretty picture for you my friends. Namaste ~oep

Saag Aloo — Serves 2

Ingredients
2 medium to large potatoes, well scrubbed (or peeled if you prefer), any “eyes” or brown spots removed.
1 cup reconstituted broth (I used Better than Bouillon vegetable)
1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes (or 1/4 Cup chopped onion or 1/2 cup sliced onion if you have it).
1/2 teaspoon each of: cumin, ground corriander, hot chili powder (I use ancho), and graham masala
ground black pepper – a few good shakes

As much spinach slightly torn as you can fit into your slow cooker. Feel free to use a mix of greens, I threw in some collard greens that I needed to use up and a few handfuls of baby spinach. You can add more spinach as it cooks down.

Directions

Cut the potatoes into 1 inch or smaller pieces. I, personally do not peel my potatoes, I use organic and the peel is full of nutrients. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will cook.
Add the broth
Add the spices and onion and stir in.
top with greens, firmer greens on the bottom, spinach on top
Cook on high for 3-5 hours depending on your slow cooker and the size of your potato dice
Add spinach as desired.

There you have it, quick, easy, yummy and slow cooker friendly, especially important on a low spoons day.

My view this morning

street lights cast a blue glow on the snowy branches in Richfield, UT

Til next time ~Duuuuude that’s COLD! ~JP

Tasty Tuesday — Moon Milk Spoonie Version

Photo via Pexels

I love moon milk, you know those fancy-schmancy hot milk before bedtime drinks. Infused with floral essences and calming properties. Sigh …. yeah you know the ones that require three pans and thirty minutes of prep time. Gorgeous though they be, I’m a SPOONIE. By night time I’m lucky if I have enough energy left to watch a half hour of television much less do some picture perfect hoytietoytie drink. So, what’s a spoonie/foodie to do? Improvise! Here for your culinary enjoyment is my adaptation for Lazy Spoonie Moon Milk. As always, see the disclaimer page. I’m not a nutritionist, this is just what works for me.

8 oz. unsweetened almond milk
1 celestial seasonings sleepytime lavender tea bag (or other tea of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon ashwaghanda powder (totally optional)
1 five mg fast melt melatonin tablet
sweetener of choice (I use honey)
cinnamon or other spice of choice

Pour almond milk into a microwave safe cup, add tea bag. Microwave until hot but not boiling (mine is usually about 2 minutes). Let teabag steep about 5 minutes. Remove teabag, add melatonin tablet and ashwaghanda powder if using, stir, microwave to reheat. Remove from microwave, add sweetener and top with a pretty little sprinkle of spice.

Sip slowly, with perhaps a biscuit.

So what’s your bedtime beverage of choice? How do you convince your aching muscles to relax at the end of the day?

Til next time ~Keep Calm and sip slowly ~JP

Saturday Swapit – a recipe exchange

Oooooohhhh a recipe swap! DI over at pensivity is hosting Saturday Swapit, a recipe and healthy eating idea swap. I am so totally in. Here at Castle Serenity, we eat duo. Two different diets. Mostly we eat the same thing, just different quantities and add ons. Superhubs is a LADA diabetic so carb control is essential. At a whopping 60 grams of carbohydrate (that’s gross count including fiber) per meal, I get a little inventive sometimes. I, on the other hand am most definitely NOT diabetic, I’m just poofy.

“I’m not fat, it’s all this fur, it makes me look big. I’m poofy.” ~Manny the Mammoth in Ice Age.

Another big factor around here is spoon levels. We’re both spoonies and often it just depends on what I can throw together by the end of the day. This little bit of awesomeness fits both bills.

Broccoli Bowl

Basics (for 2)

1 Tablespoon good quality whole grain mustard

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I use raw) or other vinegar of your liking

2 Cups lightly steamed broccoli florets (I use frozen and a microwave)

1 Cup cooked brown rice

1 can of tuna well drained (we use 7 oz split into thirds)

Toppings

1/4 Cup guacamole or avocado mash

and 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds

or

1 Tablespoon goat cheese crumbles (or low fat feta) mixed with

1 Tablespoon well drained low fat small curd cottage cheese

Instructions:

Mix mustard and vinegar together, pour over steamed broccoli and toss to coat.

In a bowl, layer 1/2 brown rice and 1/3 – 2/3 of the broccoli

Top with 1/3 – 2/3 of the tuna

Top with either the avocado mash and almonds or cheese mix*

Obviously, Superhubs gets the larger of the bowls as at over 6 feet tall his caloric requirements are quite a bit more than mine. If I have a bit more spoons (energy) I’ll also throw on some red bell pepper, cucumber, or other diced, sliced vegetables and maybe substitute some poached chicken breast for the tuna.

*I like to drain some low fat small curd cottage cheese (because I don’t like ricotta) and mix it with various cheeses. Keeps the calories and costs down.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, Love and Menu Planning in the time of COVID

Greetings fellow Spoonies, retirees, and various other persons of interesting titles. It’s been a wacky couple of weeks here at Chez Spoons. The weather finally turned cold, with a vengence. Thursday, it was 62f when we went into town. Today’s high was 6f. No that’s not a typo, it’s a 52 degree shift in daily high temps. The north wind blew through here Thursday night, bringing biting cold. Please don’t even ask me about tonight’s projected lows (brrrrr). Alright enough whining about the weather JP, get on with it.

I was preparing to write a post for Paula’s February Love Me challenge about how much I love having a meal plan and how it helps keep me sane, er ah … save me spoons, and figured I’d combine posts (no I am not lazy, the politically correct term is ‘spoon deficient’). Like a lot of Spoonies I have days, a LOT of days (OK most days) when I’m lucky to get in a shower and thinking about what to make for dinner just can’t penetrate the dull grey haze that is brain fog. “JP, what the heck is the big deal about meal plans?”

Well, mostly, they help me save my spoons (energy) for more important things, like figuring out how to adjust the water flow on my shower so the spray doesn’t sting my hyper-sensitive skin, or whether or not I actually swallowed that pain pill, little things like that. Here’s what menu planning does for me:

  • Helps me save my “brain spoons” you know those spoons related to brain fog and general forgetfulness (I am NOT old enough for senior moments, I swear).
  • Saves my normal “energy” spoons, every meal in my arsenal is less than 30 minutes hands on and most are “on the table” 30 minutes or less.
  • Saves me spoons when shopping. I know what I’m having so I know what I need to pick up. I also keep a “master” grocery list that I just check off when I’ve used the last of a staple (all of you stop wadding up those papers to throw at me, put down that rotten tomato). I grant you that’s a little hyper-organized but I really can’t help it (yes I also sort my pills for the week into multiple marked containers) it’s an OCD thing.
  • It saves me the weird looks when I innocently ask “what’s for dinner honey?” Instead I can ask “What day is it?” and get an actual answer.

OK, now you know why, next up is how? Personally, we follow a basic “theme” dinner menu. Monday – Burgers, Tuesday – Tofu, Wednesday – Fish/chicken, Thursday – Bangers (sausages), Friday — Fish, Saturday — Casserole, Sunday — Chili. The side dishes may change depending on produce availability and our ability to grocery shop but I know what I’m working with and that’s just fine. Doesn’t that get boring? No, but we’re that kind of people who can happily eat the same foods every week and I’m a pretty darned good “pantry cook.”

So there you have it. The web is loaded with great “low spoons” meals and meal plans for just about any diet you could follow. Save your spoons for the important stuff. I’m off to do … something … wait a second, what the heck is the car key doing in the refrigerator?

12 super easy meals for chronically ill cooks

Til next time ~Stay wild moon child ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, love and immunity in the time of Covid – part 2

For our JusJoJan and SoCS prompt: Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “close eyes and point.” When you’re ready to write your post, open a book, a newspaper, or whatever is handy and close your eyes and point. Whatever word or picture your finger lands on, make that the basis of your SoCS/JusJoJan post. Enjoy! “Advantages”

One of the advantages of retirement is the extra time you have to invest in those projects you’ve been putting off. Of course, that’s also the greatest disadvantage of spoonie retirement, all that time stretching out before you, time to study subjects long ago forsaken in the name of “making a living.” Time to tackle the lifestyle changes and projects you have planned to do for years but hadn’t the time. And, naturally it also gives you lots of time to lament that spoonie reality of now having time but lacking energy, strength and resources to perform those studies, projects, and lifestyle changes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining (well maybe a little *sniffle, sniffle*) I’m happy with my lot in life, although not particularly energetic.

I took some time measurements this week and found out that it takes me every bit of 1.25 hours every morning just to deal with basic medical treatments of a variety of the manifestations of my disease(s), all of which are repeated again at the end of the day. So that’s 2.5 hours out of my day right there. Needless to say anything that can save me a few steps (or a few bucks) or increase my energy level even a bit, I’m game for a try.

Last week I mixed up a batch of immunity tea blend and this week I brewed up a pot, added a touch of manuka honey and used it for an immunity boosting tonic. I cannot really say as to the effectiveness of it but I haven’t gotten sick but I do seem to be recovering from multiple minor injuries better than I expected and hey it tastes good, has no known side effects what’s not to like right? I say bring back the hippy dippy teas of my childhood! Now for those of you who lack the energy or resources to make your own tea blend, there are lots of immunity boosting teas on the market. I don’t generally use them because many include echinacea which I don’t use (autoimmune diseases …. duh). Whether using this blend or a store purchased one, always make sure there are no contraindicated ingredients based on your particular spoonieness. With that said, here is Farren’s “Immunity Tisane” recipe. Yes … Farren is a dear and yes it’s a tisane since it doesn’t actually contain leaves of the Camellia Sinensis (tea plant).

Farren’s Magic Immunity Tisane

1/4 Cup dried hibiscus flower
1/4 Cup dried elderberries
1/4 Cup rose hips (I buy whole and crush them with the flat of a knife)
1/4 Cup dried apple bits (very small)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped crystalized ginger (is what I had on hand but unsweetened dried will work fine)
2 Tablespoons dried orange peel
2 Tablespoons dried cornflowers

Place all ingredients in a 2 Cup glass jar (I use a wide mouth canning jar), replace the lid and shake until ingredients are well disbursed.

To brew: use 1 Tablespoon of tea per 12-16 oz boiling water, steep for about 5 minutes. Use more or less tea, and/or add sweetener to taste.

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Spoonie Sunday – Keeping Warm 3 – Layers

Spoons

“Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you cry.” ~Unknown

Greetings fellow spoonies and not spoonies. Hope your holidays were/are wonderful and filled with warmth, both the huggy kind and the actual kind. In the part of the country where most of my family lives, it has been unseasonably warm this Winter. Not so here.  Today we have “wind chills” well below freezing which equates to me taking extra precautions to keep warm. Continue reading “Spoonie Sunday – Keeping Warm 3 – Layers”

Spoonie Sunday – Keeping Warm part 2

Baby it’s cold outside! Last week I talked a little about spoonies and temperature sensitivity and ways to keep warm around the house. This week we’re going to talk about personal warmth. No, not the huggie feelie kind of personal warmth. We’re talking getting warm, inside, and keeping that body warmth. In the wintertime, we often feel cold and more dry. Our skin gets dry, our sinuses begin to dry out, and even our joints dry out. Winter is the Vata season, lots of warming foods are called for. Continue reading “Spoonie Sunday – Keeping Warm part 2”

31 days of October challenge Some Kitchen Witchery

31 days October

For 31 days of October challengeTodays thoughts were inspired by Beckiesmentalmess do pop over and give her Witchy Poem a read.

Now first off, I love all types of witchery but by far my favorite is Kitchen Witchery. Secondly, it’s flipping cold and windy in mid-October and soups and teas are just my thing right now. Continue reading “31 days of October challenge Some Kitchen Witchery”

Spiced Creativity

coffee - Jason Wong on Unsplash

Spiced Creativity

I miss the catchy projects you made
like spiced creativity
you’ve had enough good stays
and last chance getaways
don’t stop today’s fun

So for today’s Found Poetry February, I’ve taken a snapshot of my inbox. I picked out a few words, and then strung them together in a little poem. Fun huh!?

Inbox poetry

creativity catchy projects like you made indian spiced stop when you’ve had enough spring break getaways goods stays last chance today only don’t miss out again fun food challenge free new photos

A little extra spice, because it’s snowy and cold in my little corner of the world.

Cinnamon Spice Cocoa

INGREDIENTS
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups milk (1 qt.)
1/3 cup water hot
1/2 cup sugar
Dash salt
1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
DIRECTIONS
Mix sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt in medium saucepan; stir in water. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil and stir 2 minutes.
Add milk; stir and heat until hot. Do Not Boil. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Beat with whisk until foamy. About six 6-ounce servings.
Note: Recipe may be doubled.

Til next time ~Peace ~JPP

Found Poetry February Day 10 – Haiku for a Cold Morning

Somehow this did not get posted yesterday, my apologies this travel has got me all parfuggled.

notebook-3297317__340 pixabat

Here’s a bit of found poetry from a seldom thought of source, a recipe. 😉

A Haiku for a cold morning

Strong vanilla spice
steaming hot cinnamon froth
texture, taste, coffee

And the source of the inspiration: Continue reading “Found Poetry February Day 10 – Haiku for a Cold Morning”