Friday, November 25, 2011

Spent

Deb: Mom is coming home. Monday. That was going to be the subject of my blog. Because I am rejoicing. We all are.

But...

I am also spent. We all are. You know how it is when a crisis winds down and you find yourself unable to move, peep or pontificate?

That is where I am at. Between a bed and a sleep place.

So I will take this time to say thank you. Thanks to each and every single one of you who reads the blog and comments, reads the blog and doesn’t, reads the blog on Facebook or reads the blog when it’s shared.

And to each of you who have reached out and made me feel packed in support, I thank you.  I really truly felt your love, advice and shared experiences coming at me at the speed of blog. And I took each comment to heart.

We are moving to the next phase, the one that opts us out of all the previous confusion and pain and sends us toward the optimistic future. And we have every reason for optimism.

Mom is coming home.

Barbara: Yay, Deb!!! Not that you’re spent, of course, but that your mom is going home. And that the village made sure she could get there. Wow. So impressive.

Okay, I have to make a call-out to our blog peeps now. I would like to send over some yummy easy food for Deb’s parents to heat up, but really have no awesome “casserole” recipes. I cook on order, in the moment. I go—yes, every day—to the store and get my supplies. I’m not and have never been good at the plan-ahead. Hence my dearth of good meals that can be made ahead and frozen. Maybe portioned-up for the 2-person meal.

If any of you have any great recipes you don’t mind sharing, I would be so very grateful!!

Love!

54 comments:

  1. Deb, that is such great news!!! Sleep a lot this weekend. We all slept a lot going through it, it can take more out of you than you realize on so many levels. Your body will tell you what it needs and your heart will guide you.

    Barb, do you have the book Fare For Friends? They have great appetizers, the most famous one & loved one being "Mary Vickers" which can be made and frozen in zip lock bags. Their Spinach Cheese Bites are "to die for". Sometimes it's just easy to pull a few different ones from the freezer and have a bowl of soup. I could lend you my book if you don't have it....or later I could send you those two recipes, then everyone would have them. Again, Deb is lucky to have a friend like you.

    I have been in this place you are going Deb, so if there is anything I could do to help, both you and Barb, make this easier.....I'm there!! xo

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  2. Deb, that's fabulous news! Get as much rest/sleep as you can. You have earned it.

    As for recipes, I've been taking to freezing meals that I can just toss into the slow cooker. Sometimes, all I need to do is cook rice to go with it. Let me know if you're interested in the recipes. :)

    As for me & my son, I'm cautiously optimistic that we've just turned the corner.

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  3. Thanks Jo! And I will send good thoughts to you and your son that I'll soon see you around the corner!

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  4. That is great Deb! It must be such a relief to be moving forward again. I hope you can get some rest for yourself now.

    Barb what might be the easiest for you, since you aren't a meal planner is simply make more of what you are doing that day anyways and portion enough for two set it aside to cool for 30 minutes then pop it in the freezer. I do this fairly often for my parents using cheap foil containers.

    I've also got a long list of straight to freezer meals, chicken cartcatori, tetrazzine, devan, lasagna, meatloaf, enchiladas, chili, pulled pork, roti, pot pies you name it and I can probably give you a recipe. What kind of foods do they enjoy?

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  5. WONDERFUL news!!!!
    GOD blees!

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  6. Oops, God bless. Love

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  7. I'm headed out the door to work, but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of YAY's!!!!!!!!!!!!! *hugs Deb!!!*

    I'll think about the recipe thing while I'm at work today. If I ever get the chance to come up for air this Black Friday!

    *happy squeak!* I'm just so happy your Mom gets to come HOME, Deb! :D

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  8. So happy your Mom is going home. I hope it is an easy transition for all. Are they coming to stay with you? Caregivers? I hope all this can be managed easily. You are truly a wonderful daughter.

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  9. Mary-Jo, that sounds like the perfect cookbook for this sitch, thanks! I love the sound of the Spinach Cheese bites. Jo, so many people have been extolling the virtues of a slow-cooker. It might be time to get one. When I do, yes, please would love your fave recipes. So crossing my fingers for you, your son and that wonderful corner!!

    Erin, I would do that except most of my meals are in the world of roast chicken or fish and salad -- so harder to freeze than, say, a chicken cacciatore (sp?). Would really LOVE that recipe if you don't mind sharing. And chili, that's a good one (PS a chili tip: for fart-free enjoyment, mash the beans by fork or with a Cuisinart-type blender. Really works)

    Vickie, thanks for the smile -- nothing like a good God Blees to set the stage :). Rigel, I'll take whatever you got. Good luck on BF today!

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  10. Yay! I am so happy that your mom is going home! As many others have already said, make sure you rest and get as much sleep as possible. Also, take some time for yourself, even if its just an hour or so, to do something just for you. Trust me, it helps you stay sane (or at least as close to sane as possible!) when you have been through/still going through something like this. For me, I usually take an hour and read a really good book or sketch in my sketch book for a little while. It helps relieve stress and renergizes me to be able to get through the rest of the day.
    Again, I am so happy for you and your mom! I'm sure she appreciates all that you have done/do for her!
    As for the recipes...I am more of a dessert person. Have you ever tried Banana Split Cake? Really good and there is no ice cream in it!
    All the best!!!
    -S

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  11. Banana Split Cake

    Ingredients:
    1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
    1 large Box Frozen Strawberries
    1 small Can Crushed Pineapple -- drained
    1 small Box Vanilla Pudding Mix -- instant
    8 ounces Cream Cheese
    Peanuts
    4 Bananas -- sliced
    Cool Whip
    Shredded Coconut
    Directions:
    Bake cake according to directions. Defrost the strawberries while cake is baking. Cool cake. Poke holes in the cake. Spread strawberries and can of pineapple on the cake.

    Mix pudding according to directions. Blend in cream cheese. Spread over the cake. Sprinkle on the nuts. Arrange the sliced bananas on top of the cake, cover with Cool Whip, and sprinkle with coconut.
    Banana Split Cake serves/makes 10

    I am not a fan of coconut, so I leave that bit off, but that's the recipe! It's delicious! I am not generally a fan of cakes, but this is one that I never turn down!
    Hope you enjoy! :)
    -S

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  12. MARY VICKERS

    1 loaf bread, think sliced
    1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
    6 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
    1 4oz pack slivered almonds
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 cup mayo, light
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 400. Remove crusts from bread and spread each slice with a mixture of all other ingredients, Cut into strips of and desired shape. If desires, freeze on and baking sheet, place in plastic bags and store in freezer. To serve, bake for 10 mins or until brown




    SPINACH CHEESE COCKTAIL BITES

    3 eggs
    1 cup flour
    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    dash of cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup chives, chopped
    1 puond Edam cheese, grated
    2 packages (each 12 ox/340g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

    Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9"x13" cake pan well. in a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, add flour, milk baking powder, salt, mustard, cayenne and chives. Blend well. Fold in cheese and spinach. pour in to pan and bake for 35 mins or until almost set in the center. allow to sit for 15 minutes, cut bite-sized squares and serve war.. These may also be frozen after baking and reheated in a 350F oven for 15 minutes at serving time.


    OLIVE CHEESE MELTS

    1 cup ripe olives , chopped
    1/2 cup green onions chopped
    1 1/2 old cheddar cheese, grated
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup mayo, light
    8 English muffins halved

    Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine olives, green onions, cheese, curry powder, salt and mayo. spread on muffins and cut into 4 pieces. Can be frozen on a cookie sheet at this point and put into freezer bags. Bake for 10 minutes



    These are all delicious and are fun to pull out for lunch, when someone drops by for a glass of wine or have as a light supper with soup. Enjoy!

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  13. Oh, lovely, girls!! Thank you so much!! S and Mary-Jo, these sound like at-home delights too.

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  14. Yes, every fall I spend a day and make them all, freeze them and they are just great when you have people over or someone just drops by for a glass of wine and you can give them a hot hor d'ourve with it. I'll have to send you crab bites too Barb

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  15. CRAB BITES (my boys' favorite)

    2 pkg English muffins, split in 2
    2/3 of a 1 lb jar Cheese Whiz
    1 tsp Lawrys' Seasoned Salt
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    4 Tbsp softened butter
    1 Tbsp mayo
    2 (5oz) cans crab meat, drained

    Mix all ingredients, but crab meat, in bowl. Fold in crab. spread on English Muffins, cut in 4. Can freeze on cookie sheet at this point. Put in plastic bags in freezer. Put under broiler until golden brown and serve warm.

    oh yes, I usually double all of these recipes.

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  16. Glad to here your mom is coming home Deb. Sending best wishes to her An you as well..

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  17. Oh, yeah, Mary-Jo -- mmmmmmm! (and good timing for holiday season to boot) Thank you!!

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  18. When one heals, we all heal. In the spirit of helping to heal the whole, (and, because I care about the individuals)--I'm sending you two links: one is for an online service called meal train, which helps organize a supply of meals via generous friends--(it's easy to use and helps organize things so that everyone donating can see what dates the meals are needed for, and what is being donated--something I found incredibly helpful when I participated in one....also, attaching a link to my friend Vanessa's food blog--she often posts easy, delicious recipes based on seasonal offerings, which works with how you (and I) shop. She grew up in France, lives in Chicago now, and has four children, so she has interesting ideas and certainly has learned how to cut down on time-consuming efforts. hope they help!!!!! xo

    http://www.mealtrain.com/
    http://networkedblogs.com/qqtR7

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  19. good thing I've learned to "test" links when I post them. here's the correct one for Vanessa's blog:

    http://chefdruck.com/

    if anyone makes a comment, tell Vanessa I said hi ;)

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  20. Lori, the meal train is an awesome and easy-looking idea! And Vanessa's site is gorgeous! Her recipes definitely fit the bill. Thanks!

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  21. Chicken Cacciatore

    A dozen chicken thighs timmed of fat and sliced in strips
    2 tbs olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    2-3 sticks celery, chopped
    2-3 carrots, chopped
    6 strips sliced pancetta(regular bacon works as well)
    3 cloves crushed garlic
    a dozen button mushrooms sliced
    1/4 cup white wine
    diced tomatoes (an 800g can or 3 cups freshly diced)
    1/2 tsp brown sugar
    1 tbs balsamic vinegar
    1 tbs rosemary
    1 bay leaf
    3/4 cup chicken stock
    1 cup sliced olives

    Heat oil and cook chicken in large saucepan set chicken aside when cooked through.

    Using the same pan add onion celery, carrot and pancetta and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms cook 1-2 more minutes.

    The carrott/celery can also be replaced by 1 1/2 cups chopped bell peppers.

    Return chicken to pan add tomatoes, sugar, herbs, wine and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add olives cook 5 more minutes.

    Transfer to foil containers allow to cool and freeze. Reheat by adding 1/4 cup of water and place in oven at 350 for one hour or defrost ahead of time and heat at 325 for 20 minutes.

    Serve over rice also works well with mashed potatoes.

    This is my favorite of my freezer dishes:

    Chicken and rice casserole

    6 chicken breasts quartered
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 1/2 cups chopped bok coy(the original recipe is mixed sliced bell peppers)
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
    2 cups chicken broth
    1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
    2 tablespoons minced parsley

    cook chicken in oil andset aside when done. In same skillet, saute bok choy, onion and mushrooms until soft. Add garlic, rice broth corn salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

    Transfer to greased freezer containers top with chicken. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes covered an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle with almonds and parsely serve.

    These both make two meals for a family of 4 so I would probably half the recipes or seperate into 4 containers. If your wondering I don't use peppers becasue I'm allergic.

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  22. Oh Deb, I'm so happy you get to take her home. I would hope you have a couple of days to get away and relax/recuperate but if you don't, take a nice long hot bath with scented oils, candles all around, and a nice glass of your fav wine. Ahhhhhh. bliss.

    Barb, Do Deb's parents have any dietary restrictions? Probably a good thing to find out before you go to a lot of trouble to cook something they can't eat. I'll give you some recipes but do they have preferences like beef vs. chicken? Pasta is always a really easy peasy thing to prepare and sauces freeze beautifully. A good veggie soup is also something that freezes well.

    Meatloaf Muffins

    *Some people replace the beef with ground turkey and said it was great.
    Also, use regular crackers if that's what you have on hand.

    Ingredients

    1 teaspoon olive oil $
    1 cup finely chopped onion $
    1/2 cup finely chopped carrot $
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup ketchup, divided $
    1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
    1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
    2 tablespoons prepared mustard $
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce $
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $
    2 large eggs $
    Cooking spray $
    Preparation

    Preheat oven to 350°.
    Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.
    Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.
    Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.

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  23. Hmmm, I have no idea how that recipe got those dollar signs. :)
    HUGS,
    Karen

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  24. Deb, SO glad to read the relief. Make sure you get "enough" sleep. Okay, *any* sleep.
    Everybody hang tightly together. Bumpy ride or not, that's how you survive.
    Hugs, you guys.


    Oh, jeez, Barb. The best I could really do is email reservations. I don't do MEALS, per se. Here's some reasonable "I'll mic a couple of these for 30 secs." things.

    Spinach Squares

    4 tbsp. butter (not all are necessary, just used to grease pan. Make sure sides get some, too, according to directions.)
    3 eggs
    1/2 c. milk
    1 c. flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 lb. mild-med sharp cheese (grated)
    2 pkg. (10 oz.) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
    1 tbsp. chopped onion (We don't like 'em, but you can use 'em.)
    Parsley flakes (yeah, but you know how necessary they can be. :P )

    Melt butter in 9 x 13-inch pan. (Use pot holders and tilt pan around so butter gets on sides, too.) Beat eggs well, add flour, milk, salt and powder. Add cheese, spinach, onion.

    Mix well and pour into pan.

    Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes, until golden brown on top. (Can take 45-50 min. You want the top to be brown.)

    Can let cool and freeze then reheat, or cut and serve. (Don't cut while hot. Cheese fights back.)

    The more butter, the greasier, but, some say, tastier, too.

    ******

    Barb, god bless ya.

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  25. I don't want to drag anyone down, I just need a hug. The only reason I'm not an in-patient right now is 'cause I told my therapist I had someone to turn to here. Actually, it really IS here, on this blog. In 'real life,' I feel as alone as I did the first time I was hospitalized. With the notable exception of my therapist and psych meds dr. Don't know if it's the holidays or just... whatever. Useless? Broke? Dark out too early? Meds tolerance reached again??

    Attending "intensive" out-patient program, prob next week. Have weekend to get through in the meantime. HUGS to all, 'cause I need 'em back.

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  26. I don't have a recipe or something, but so happy that things are getting better! :] i'm sure your mom will be happy to come home, Deb!!

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  27. Thanks so much for the recipes, you guys. Am saving them a file and will start experimenting soon! Such a life/time saver!

    Dawn, this is me giving you a big, warm, not too rough hug. A really really long one. I'm so sorry you have to go through this alone. But then I wonder if it's not the kind of thing that makes you feel alone no matter how many people are around. If it's any consolation, you are a bright light here and we all love you. Good luck finding the right answers. Sending you positive energy. Bluuuuee. xo

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  28. ((((((())))))) Dawn ((((((())))))

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  29. DAWN! I'm with you, girl. Holidays are hard when you suffer from depression already. People running around humming xmas songs and spending money they don't have, and smiling while doing it. I want to kick them in the kneecaps. I know it's out of jealousy but still, I'd like them to turn the "joyous holiday season" down a couple of degrees at LEAST.
    GIGANTIC hugs to you, Dawn. You know I'm around if you need to vent. You have my email address too. I promise I know better than to tell you to cheer up. People don't get that "it ain't that simple". Too bad it isn't. We'll make it if we clump like cat litter. :)
    big big hug,
    Karen

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  30. Hi everyone, I'm sorry I have been absent today. Big CBC launch for the last season of Mosque and all of Mom's equipment was delivered and set up in her home today. Hospital bed, sling lift etc. We are having to rearrange the furniture to fit everything in nicely. Thanks EVERYONE for the loving good will messages and the recipes! Barb you doll!!!!!!!!!!! And now that I have received all of your love and support for me and Mom and my family, I would like to count my blessings and give all the focus to sending love to Dawn. we are with you Dawn, we are thinking of you and we are sending you light and hope. Please feel our presence and know that you can talk in this safe world anytime your heart desires. xoxoxo

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  31. Deb, just a suggestion: you might want to try to get your mom's bed facing a window so that she can see outside. My grandmother's bed faces a window and she enjoys "people watching" and looking at her lovely flowers. That also reminds me, I don't know if your mom likes gardening, but if so you might want to get her some indoor plants that she can water and take care of (with help if neccesary). I did this for my grandmother because before her stroke, she spent most of her day outside working with the flowers and other plants. It gave her some independence, which helps keep her spirits up.
    Also, make sure you and anyone else using the bed and sling are careful because you can get pinched, depending on the type you have and how they work (trust me on this one!)
    All the best! :)
    -S

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  32. Dawn: *hugs*

    I'll keep a Twitter window open whenever I'm home and awake. Also, I'll email you how to get me on GoogleTalk.

    I work a lot of hours the next couple of days, but I'll have contact windows up as much as possible.

    Love and hugs,
    R

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  33. Dawn: sending hugs & hope.....feelings shift & change and you are not powerless over them--may you remember & feel JOY soon

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  34. Thank you all SO Much.
    Barb, that's exactly the hug I am looking for. Huge hugs also for your comments. They mean a TON to me. It's the comfort I guess I'm seeking at the moment, a REASON, I guess.
    Deb, thank you thank you thank you. The world's still spinning a tad crazily on your end. It's incredible that you are as giving as well.
    (I forgot there's a gap of time between when you film a tv show, and when it actually airs.)
    Karen, I could drive you nuts. Mostly, I'm in a hole. Lori, Rigel, Maryjo, thanks for caring.
    Thank all of you for caring. It's tough to believe people do care, and it's easy to forget, and reading this literally does bring tears to my eyes.

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  35. Dawn we are all here. And isn't it lovely that we are able to be here for each other? Sometimes I love technology so much! Except when I don't. Dawn I hope you have a lovely peaceful weekend. I hope something makes you smile and laugh.

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  36. Thinking of you Dawn (((((()))))) Pretend you want to spoil someone, and then do it to yourself.
    Big hug to you :)

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  37. Hi Deb:
    Really happy that Auntie Anne is coming home Monday, Just a thought regarding food. M&M's shops have great single serve frozen entrees that you could have in the freezer in a pich. Lasagne, Sheppards Pie, Chillie etc. I got those for my Mom as a back up before she when it the nursing home. Deb, are you getting nursin/homecare to come to the house for her? Also Meals on Wheels was great and you can order dinners only from them to be delivered daily. Food was alway good. Ian and I will get down soon once she is settle Love & hugs Jenn xo

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  38. I'm glad you're mom's coming home! When my mom was in hospital (could only visit her at the weekends) for over 6 months, I was relieved, when I could finally take her in my arms again. I hope that she will get better, and you will sort things out.

    I know how you feel...Besides the joy, I was so tired and exhausted, with no energy left at all.

    But she's coming home. That's more important - for once!

    Send my prayers and thoughts to you and your family!

    I'm so glad I found this blog. I feel so comfortable and understood here.

    Please take care!
    Thank you! - Vielen Dank!

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  39. Dawn: *huuuuuuuuuuugs*

    Barbara: I would like to help with some recipes, but I can't think of one that might be of any use...
    Besides, I need to translate them into English...and I don't know every word. :( But let's give it a gry anyway...

    What about some potato soup? Sounds pretty simple, but you can freeze it / portion and heat it up.

    I take...

    700 gram potatoes
    2 carrots
    2-3 sticks celery
    1 onion
    1 leek

    For more flavour you can add some bacon.

    1,5 liter vegetable stock (or plain water)
    salt
    pepper
    tomato purée
    parsley

    Chop the vegetables (and the bacon), and put them into a large pot (with some oil). Roast gently. Flour everything. Add water, salt, pepper, tomato purée and chopped parsley.

    Cook for half an hour.

    You can leave it like that or puree everything.

    We always eat "wiener", but you don't need any meat. :)

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  40. Becki, THRILLED you found us! Wilkommen!

    And I think this is an excellent recipe suggestion -- thank you!!

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  41. Barbara -

    Ah! Do you still have that Creole Green Beans recipe I emailed you a few months ago? That freezes well, and it's very yummy! The recipe I sent you would make 4 good sized meal-in-one servings if served over rice as a main dish like kiddo and I do. Note: When heating up the frozen portions, sprinkle an eensy bit of water over the rice before microwaving.

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  42. Part 1:

    Dump Chili (super easy and freezes really well)

    I'm not sure how many "Deb's parents" servings this makes because I'm always dealing with a growing boy who REALLY likes this recipe and snarfs down epic portions. It makes enough for me to have a big serving and then a little bit seconds at dinner instead of dessert, kiddo to have 2 heaping servings at dinner, and me to have some at lunch the next day and maybe the next if I didn't have that bit of seconds on the first night. It's cheaper if you've soaked and boiled down dried beans, but I'm giving the fast/easy method. If you use generic canned goods, it's still super cheap for a big pot of food.

    You've got 2 options:
    1. beans and meat or 2. just beans
    Most folks would use hamburger if making the meat option, but I always use ground turkey.
    If you are not using meat, use 3 regular size (approx. 15 oz) cans of kidney beans, drained, and rinsed. If using meat, use 2 cans of beans and 1/3-1/2 lb. of ground meat (amount to taste).

    It's Dump Chili because you just dump everything in!

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  43. Hi gang,
    Things are a bit better. Less desperately low, at least. Shopping is not therapeutic this time of year. However, I did try to get out of the house, get out of my head a bit. Still not happily trapped, but it isn't cinched quite as tightly around me.
    Thanks again for hugs and thoughts. Means a LOT.

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  44. Part 2:

    Ingredients:
    2 or 3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    If using meat, 1/3 - 1/2 lb. ground turkey.
    Optional: some chopped up onion and green bell peppers
    1 BIG can (It's, ummm, 23 oz, I think? The squat, fat cans that have a large enough diameter that you've got to pay a little bit of attention if picking them up with one hand but not the gigantic institutional cans) of stewed, whole tomatoes.
    1 BIG can of crushed tomatoes
    1 normal, soup can size can of tomato sauce
    a big ole, heaping amount of chili powder
    a big ole, heaping amount of powdered cumin (to taste --- but, err on the side of a lot vs. a little)
    optional: a carefully moderate amount of paprika (to taste) You don't have to, but it does seem to add just a little something to the mix. *shrugs*

    Note: If you have the time, groceries, and inclination to be a little bit fancy, finely chop up some onions and green bell pepper to cook with the meat or just to cook up before you start the tomato based stuff. The extra veggies make things yummier, and, of course, the smell of sauteeing onions and green bell peppers is absolutely divine.

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  45. Part 3:

    If using the meat, fry it up into crumbly browned bits (draining the fat off) (go for smaller crumbles rather than big clumps that have delusions of being meatballs). While cooking it, from the beginning when it's still all pink and squishy, dust the heck out of that meat with the cumin and chili powder. By the time all the meat is browned, it should be a dark rust reddish brown because you've flavored it something fierce. The seasoning of the meat is NOT a stage in which you should exercise restraint. Season with abandon! Be excessive. It's fun. Keep the cooked meat warm.

    Get your big cast iron pot/stainless steel stock pot/the great big pot you boil spaghetti noodles in. (This isn't a good recipe to use an Al pot.) First, open and pour in the big can of stewed tomatoes (juice, tomato guts, and all). Take a mashed potato masher and kinda squish the whole stewed tomatoes. You're not trying to destroy them. (After all, you're about to add crushed tomatoes.) You're just trying to smoosh the whole tomatoes into, roughly, forths or fifths of tomatoes -- substantial bite sized chunks. Be careful and/or wear an apron because the tomatoes squirt like arterial spray while you're doing this. If your kid's helping you cook, monster movie - zombie slaying sound effects are called for at this stage.

    Crank the stove eye up to medium high heat.

    Open and pour in the can of crushed tomatoes.

    Open and pour in the can of tomato sauce.

    Season the bajeezus out of all the tomato-y goodness in the pot with the cumin and chili powder. Really. A heavy hand IS called for here. If you don't have dragon-esque proclivities, tone down the chili powder component. But, there's no room for wimpiness on the cumin here. Sprinkle, then sprinkle some more. Go Muppets Swedish Chef crazy!

    If you're going with paprika, more than a smidgen but less than a vat load goes in, now. Paprika in the style of a formal Presbyterian Sunday morning service rather than a Holy Ghost rolling Pentecostal Sunday evening prayer and praise service.

    But, the chili powder and powdered cumin? You're full on sprinkling with the vigor of a church in the backwoods in the hollers passing snakes and drinking strychnine out of mason jars, OK? Especially, the cumin.

    Give everything a good stir. Keep doing that on a reasonably frequent basis.

    While you are waiting for everything to come to a nice bloop-bloop-bloop (cackling and quoting the witches from Macbeth when things start bubbling here is optional but encouraged), open up, drain, and rinse the cans of kidney beans. Add the beans to the pot, too.

    Let it all get fully heated through, back to blooping. Grab a spoon and give it a taste. How's that seasoning? Throw in some more!

    Throw in the meat and give everything a good stir. Grab another spoon or wash off the old one (but, don't you DARE double dip your spit into that cooking pot!) and give things another taste. All good? Yay! You can serve it, now. But, I'm telling you that it's only going to be better if you cut the heat down and let everything simmer for a while longer if you've got the time.

    Serve, or divide it out into containers for freezing. Bonus prize: this chili is always better the 2nd day or when reheated after freezing.

    Eddie would insist that you have unsalted tops saltine crackers crumbled into your bowl with your chili and then plop some shredded cheddar cheese on top. Eddie is a smart boy.

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  46. Deb & Dawn:
    thinking of both of you. hoping that you are both experiencing a shift toward the light and that you are being buoyed by those around you and those who are sending supportive thoughts and wishes........xo

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  47. Dawn, so glad that the darkness lifted for a while today. Thinking of you. xo
    Lori thank you. I am indeed buoyed by good thoughts and wishes. Becki we love having you here. Rigel you always show up with huge bags of generosity.

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  48. Rigel, thanks! This is great! And Yes, I do have the green beans recipe. I haven't tried it yet but thrilled to hear it's freezable as that is key here. Thank you!

    Dawn, relieved to hear you're feeling "a bit better". I know a bit isn't much, but it's better than worse :) xoxoxo

    Lori, thank you for your beautiful energy! xo

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  49. Deb was soooo hyped to hear Mrs M. is returning home. Be well Be happy m'dears Off to Pirate Fest in the AM- GARRR!
    will hoist a Margarita in Margaritaville to all of you!

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  50. Oh Deb, that is SO wonderful!!! :) ((big hugs))

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  51. Thank you! You're so lovely and nice!

    I wish I could hug all of you! :)

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  52. Deb,
    Just wanted to say that I hope all is well with your mom!
    All the best to you and her! :)

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