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Archive for April, 2014

It seems spring finally has sprung. Although I heard it’s supposed to cool down later on this week – BUMMER.

I went for a walk the other night to clear my head a bit and was happy to see evidence of springtime wherever I went.

Flower1

Flower2

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Pretty…

It was nice to see the flowers. I saw my first Robin too but it was too fast for me to take a photo.

Then I come home and find a certain someone konked out…

Kendall Sleeping

Good Lord, Kendall!!

She has no shame whatsoever…

I hope you liked the Stuffed Peppers recipe. I am still in a bit of a cooking rut. I did make the Pioneer Woman’s Salisbury Steak Meatballs yesterday. They came out great but needed a couple of eggs as a few of them fell apart. Really good recipe though and all the ingredients are ingredients that you have on hand.

I make beef broth from powder bouillon packets that have zero sodium.

Just thought you’d like to know.

I finished the top of my wall-hanging. I love it. Not sure I centered the tree properly though – it looks a little “Bonsai-ish” in this picture… I bought some red crystals to decorate it and a big snowflake to use as the star. I will quilt it first though – I don’t want to chance a crystal falling off and getting stuck in the sewing machine mechanism…

X-mas Wallhanging

Not sure how I’m going to quilt it yet. Was thinking of doing what the Author did and that was echo the shape of the tree outwards and then “stitch-in-the-ditch” the stars. This is a pattern from the book Christmas Sparkle by Mary Jane Carey of Holly Hill Quilt Designs. Great book!

I see some metallic sparkly threads in my future!!

Jim is still doing very well although I did jinx him with the last post. He fell down the stairs at his parent’s house while trying to carry two bags… He really did a good job on his leg and of course the bruising from the Coumadin is pretty… Nice shades of purples. Matches the comforter and blanket…

Jim Leg

Hey, see the green / white thing with a hint of a pink poking out? It’s in the bottom left-hand corner of the pic. That’s a Dresden Plate quilt I made years ago from reproduction depression era fabrics.

One of my favorite quilts.

A couple of weekends ago, Jim’s cousin Charlie and his lovely wife Donna came to visit us from western New York. We had a great time catching up with them. As a surprise we hired a guide from Antique Limo to come to the house to pick us up and give us a tour of Boston.

We wanted to do something in Boston while they were here.

Our guide, Mark, was great. He dresses up like a mobster and he drives a GORGEOUS 1939 white Cadillac and gives a very informative tour of Boston.

The car is spectacular… If we had a penny for each time someone took a picture of us while we drove around Boston. Mark would roll down his window and tell them he needed to confiscate their cameras because we were all in the Witness Protection Program.

He would also periodically roll down his window and ask – how you doin’?

When we got back home I put some chicken that was marinating into the oven.  It was a Chicken Marbella recipe that was on the Simply Recipes website along with Chocolate Pot de Cremes by the Pioneer Woman.

Delicious!!

While they were visiting, Donna mentioned she wanted to see my sewing studio. While showing her around, I found a box tucked away in the closet and realized it was for a quilt that I had committed to making years ago with some friends of mine.

Like back in 2008.

The quilt is known as the Dear Jane quilt and it is made up of 225 blocks. Some friends and I had decided to meet on a monthly basis to make a few blocks. A bit like a Block of the Month quilt.

I was so excited to find those little blocks. Emphasis on LITTLE. The blocks are 5-inch squares.

DJ Lesson 1 Blocks

I was making a PURPLE Dear Jane. Cool!

I emailed the girls and asked if they would be willing to meet at my house once a month again… We met this past Saturday and it was great to see everyone. We sat around the dining room table and discussed the logistics of getting the band back together. We are going to meet on either the 2nd or 3rd Saturday of each month.

Most of us managed to do three blocks since 2008. Some have more and some have less. We’ve decided to start with Lesson #1 again. I might send Lesson #2 for the girls who are ahead. The next two blocks are an applique technique.

Explains why I stopped…

Here is a picture of the entire Dear Jane quilt.

DJ Quilt

We guestimate that it will take approximately 5 to 6 years to complete. Most quilts I have no idea how long it took me to make them. People ask but you really can’t answer because sometimes you work on a quilt or project constantly but then sometimes life gets in the way and you have to put it away for awhile. I have the Dear Jane software that has information sheets for each block along with a place to make a notation of “time started” and “time finished”. It would definitely be cool to know how long this quilt took to make.

Or depressing…

There is some history with this quilt which I will be glad to provide (if you want) at another time. It’s late and I’m getting a little tired.

Hope everyone is doing well. Lots of Love!!

Cheryl

 

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Hi there – how is everyone doing today? We are doing well here although I may have overdone things a bit.

Apparently, working full time, being caregiver to Jim and taking care of a house made planning his surprise birthday party and redoing the bathroom under strict deadline my breaking point.  A couple of days after Jim’s party, I was in the shower and noticed that I had some numbness on my left side. Ugh!! Before fearing the worst, I recalled that because the bathroom was so tiny, I did have to sometimes scrape wallpaper and paint using my left-hand. My left shoulder was very “crunchy” for lack of a better word so I am wondering if I pinched a nerve or something.

Orders for rest and relaxation have been given by my doctor.

Then she said “really rest.”

They know me… If no improvement or it gets worse, we’ll do an MRI. Fun stuff.

I did relax for a little bit, and I’ve had some nice pops from my left shoulder and now all of the numbness is gone.

I’ll be fine.

Jim is doing extremely well. (I’m almost afraid to admit that for fear of jinxing him.)

I’m very superstitious.

January 2nd was the last time Jim passed out. After that incident they considerably reduced the amount of diuretics that he takes. The diuretics were wiping out the potassium in his body and when it gets too low, he passes out…

Before that, (way before that) he was coughing to the point that he would black out. I don’t really think that Jim was even aware that he was blacking out, but it was very scary for the rest of us.

I made a point of going to LVAD clinic one day to mention it, and they had determined that it was caused by one of his medications (of course) and they stopped it altogether.

By the way – now whenever I show up at LVAD clinic, they assume something is wrong :-)…

So, no more coughing and no more lightheadedness or dizzy spells…

After the unconventional experiment, they removed his PICC line – see below (ignore the bruise). The PICC line is a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter which is used for intravenous access for a prolonged period of time. Jim had two PICC lines actually and had them for almost a year and a half.

JA - Arm

No more infusions. He was doing four a day – now none…

I was doing dressing changes at least twice a day – sometimes more due to an incision that just wouldn’t heal. Now it has healed, and we are down to one dressing change every other day.

LVAD clinic visits have gone from every Monday to now once a month.

No lightheadedness, no dizziness, no blacking out or fainting, no more infusions, one dressing change every other day and LVAD clinic once a month.

Savor the moment!! Now hopefully things will stay like this for a while.

Having all this free time is seriously messing me up though… I don’t know what to do with myself. I just sit in a near catatonic state on the sofa until it’s time for bed. It’s a very strange feeling.

I don’t even think I’ve done much sewing.

Also, for some strange reason, I am in a cooking rut.

Ever get like that?

I’m just tired of cooking the same ‘ole things, or I just have no idea what to cook. No clue. I wander around the grocery store or peruse recipes on my favorite recipe blogs and cookbooks looking for some inspiration, but nothing… I cannot get motivated for some reason.

I did make some stuffed peppers recently that came out pretty good. I had a bunch of bell peppers leftover that I was planning on putting on a salad but decided against it at the last minute. I decided instead to use them to make stuffed peppers but was lamenting because we had had enough “saucy” things at that point. Jim then asked if we could stuff them with chili.

Good idea!!

Here is the recipe if you’re interested. Apologies in advance for the bad photography. This is my first attempt at being a food blogger.

 

Chili Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Ingredients:

Bell Peppers – any color – I love color so used an assortment

Two packages (approx. 2-2 1/2 lbs. total) of ground whatever floats your boat – chicken, beef, turkey, etc.

One can of beans – I used Black Beans but again use whatever you prefer

One can diced tomatoes

One can sweet corn

Two cans of diced green chilies

1 to 3* Chipotle peppers (remove the seeds) in Adobo sauce plus a tablespoon of the Adobo sauce (*depending on how hot you like it! :-)) NOTE: There are typically three to four peppers per can so one can is enough and just leave any leftover peppers in the fridge for another recipe (add to mayo for a special sauce).

One packet of Williams Original Chili Seasoning (for all our heart failure / LVAD friends – this has zero sodium)

One large onion

Shredded cheese – whatever kind you like (we used 2% Mexican Four Cheese)

Cumin (not pictured because I forgot…)

Chili Powder (not pictured because I forgot…)

For the garnish:

Sliced olives

Sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Put a teaspoon of oil in a sauce pan or Dutch oven and sauté the onion until tender.

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Then add your meat of choice. We used very lean ground turkey.

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Cook until completely browned.

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While the meat is cooking, take a pepper and

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carefully cut around and remove the stem.

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Cut each pepper in half length-wise to make cute little boats. Rinse and clean.

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Set aside for later. I just love all the colors!!

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Now back to the chili.

To the meat and onion mixture, add the Williams Original Chili Seasoning, corn, tomatoes, beans, both cans of green chilies, the amount of Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce that you’re comfortable with (I added two) plus the tablespoon of the Adobe sauce from the can, two tablespoons of Chili Powder and one tablespoon of Cumin.

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Pretty colors!!

Stir until combined. Let simmer for 30 minutes. This makes a great weeknight meal because it takes practically no time to prepare.

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You can eat this as is or put on top of baked potatoes, hot dogs or hamburgers but since we had so many peppers leftover, I filled each little boat and put in a casserole pan filled with about an inch of low-sodium chicken broth (you can also use water). I use Trader Joe’s chicken broth as it’s the best tasting with the least amount of sodium I can find.

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Then I put them in a 350° oven for about a ½ hour or until the peppers soften to your liking. Cheese can have a large amount of sodium so I only put cheese on a few peppers for myself.

Pop them back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts.

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Also, for anyone interested in purchasing the Williams Original Chili Seasoning or anything else that is no – to low sodium, I find great items on www.healthyheartmarket.com. Check them out sometime.

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They even have zero sodium pickles.

The Chili Stuffed Peppers are done!! Top with any garnish you want – sour cream, sliced olives or green onions and enjoy!!

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So that’s it for now. Take care – lots of Love!!

Cheryl

 

 

 

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