Thursday, July 28, 2011

adventures in breakfast

We're going on a road trip, leaving very early in the morning, and neither of us is big on fast-food breakfasts. So I tried to come up with some high-fat, high-protein, low-carb, room-temperature stable, hand-held food type items to take on the trip. These are still higher in carbs than I consider acceptable for everyday far, but for a cheap quick takealong they aren't bad. And of course all the fats are wholesome.

Flourless chewy granola bars

This was kind of a pantry clean-out. I will probably experiment with this. I would like to create a baklava-flavored nut bar at some point, but walnuts are expensive.

combine in large bowl:
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup Pamela's gluten-free baking mix
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup pecans (measure, then chop small)
1/3 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened (measure, then process small)

stir in (at room temperature):
1/2 cup peanut butter, unsweetened
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 eggs

melt in saucepan, let cool slightly then add to dry mixture:
1 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
(optional) 2 Tbs corn syrup (helps it stick together better)

stir in:

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Press firmly into a greased sheetcake pan. I used 2 6x12-inch tin pans and the bars came out about 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 350ºF for about 18 minutes, or until the bars look dry and slightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool completely in the pan or they will crumble all to dust. Cut into bars and refrigerate for longer life.


Ham and onion pot pies
These looked gorgeous when they came out of the oven. The egg mixture puffed up and browned on top. Can't wait to try them.

1 1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
dash salt
1 large/jumbo egg
1/2 cup butter and/or lard, any proportion you like
2-3 Tbs milk

Combine the dry ingredients. Mix in egg with a fork. Crumble in fats by hand. Dribble milk just until dough sticks together. Chill.

Bacon--fry & crumble
onion--mince and saute in grease
ham--chop small
cheddar cheese--about 1/3 cup
gruyere cheese--ditto
heavy cream & flour--make gravy base with bacon drippings
chicken bouillon granules
black pepper
dijon mustard
2 eggs
dash of milk if needed to stretch amount. Don't add too much liquid.

Roll out dough into six 6-inch circles and press into shallow muffin tins. Fill with ham & egg mixture. Fold up edges of dough over the filling (they don't need to meet or look tidy). Bake at 400º for about 25 minutes or until nicely browned.

I actually forgot to add the dijon on this maiden voyage, but I think it would be a nice addition. Some vegetables, i.e. red bell pepper, asparagus, broccoli, peas would also probably be nice with this, although the bacon should probably be left out in such a case.

Monday, July 18, 2011

resolving issues

Last night I had an interesting dream.

Since I was laid off in February, I've had several dreams about being back in my cubicle, not knowing how I got there, but thinking, knowing, somehow I was not *supposed* to be there. It was a similar thing when I got remarried; I dreamt of being in the old apartment with my ex, and knowing somehow that that was NOT my life, I was supposed to be with a better man in a better place.

But in this latest dream, I was visiting the place of my own free will. I had my toys around me--white leather tote, laptop, sewing tools--and I was NOT in my old cubicle, I was in a vacant one further up the row. I was there to visit. I shook the hand of my old supervisor, told him he was a good guy. I told my coworkers I was glad to see them. I met the new girl. She had blue-green hair.

Then there was an interruption. At the other end of the room, some unpleasant coworkers from another department were having a loud party, complete with boom box and mirrorball lightshow.

"How can you stand that?" I said to Adriane.

"I know," she replied with a grimace. "They do that constantly."

"I'll take care of it," I said, and I marched over there and yanked the plug on the stereo.

The rude coworkers started yelling in protest, and when I told them they were being inconsiderate, some slunk away looking guilty, but a tall, red-haired guy, a bit younger than me (who did not, in fact, resemble anyone I know in real life) got up and started taunting me.

He told me it was none of my business. He told me to get lost or I'd be sorry. I told him he was an immature boor. He threatened my job. I said I didn't work there. He said his father was very powerful and could take away my parents' house. I laughed and said, "There's nothing you can threaten me with."

So he threw a couple of punches at my head. I evaded them easily. He threw a roundhouse kick at my head. I caught his leg, ducked under it, and was debating whether to punch him in the groin or kick out his knee when I woke up.

Maybe all this stepped-up kung fu training is starting to sink in, because this is the first dream in which I remember actually being confident of my abilities.

But it was five a.m., and the cat wanted breakfast. I got up, fed him, went into the bathroom, and the thought surfaced as I was washing my face: I think I just defeated all my lingering fears.

I went out this morning and got a haircut and a light auburn gloss put on. I look pretty darn cute.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

shoe therapy

Three weeks ago I damaged my knee in kung fu class.

This is problematic because I'm supposed to go compete in tai chi at the end of July. I've already booked the (non-refundable) hotel room and registered for 7 (non-refundable) events at the tournament.

I didn't think I'd done any major damage; it didn't really hurt. I could walk just fine, and there was no bruising or popping, but I had some swelling behind the knee, a feeling of weakness/stiffness. I iced it a bit, sat around with it elevated some. I figured a bit of gentle stretching and movement--no extreme up/down movements--would make it better in a few days.

It didn't. After a week or so the stiffness went away but I still had a lump behind my knee and I couldn't do deep knee bends without feeling like there was a knife in my kneecap.

I should mention, I've had no health insurance since I lost my job, and since this injury wasn't impeding my day-to-day activities I didn't think it prudent to see a doctor and spend the money only to be told I needed to ice it and stay off it.

After two weeks of little/no improvement, I decided to not do any training for a week. I hate this--I sit down too much as it is, since I sew or work on the computer all day. I start sleeping badly if I don't get some exercise. And the "week off" for the knee didn't seem to be doing much good anyway. It would be fine during the day, then stiffen up overnight. Or get achy while I was sitting in a chair during the day, then fine when I got up the next morning. And that damn swelling behind the knee would not go down. I knew that was what caused the pain because I could feel it pushing the joint out of alignment when I squatted.

Friday morning it hurt when I got out of bed. Maybe I slept with it twisted, I don't know. I had to squat during my morning housekeeping, and it hurt a lot. I was starting to get really annoyed and worried.

Given that, it may seem strange that I decided to wear my wedge mules to run out and do some errands. They have about a 2-inch heel. But I had noticed that the ache in my knee was most pronounced during walking, when I pushed off on that foot and the knee was fully extended. Walking in the mules seemed to thwart that mechanic. My knee didn't hurt the whole time I was out walking or in the evening after I got home.

This morning, Saturday, I got up and the swelling had all gone down. No more pain. I did three cautious hours of class this morning, no pain, although I was careful not to do any deep-knee bends. The muscles did get tired and I do feel some minor pressure behind the joint, but I'd say it's about 90% recovered.

All I can figure is that wearing the heels somehow realigned things to where the joint could drain. Who'd have thought?

I just hope it holds. I'm going to be really annoyed if I can't do my down posture in the fan form because of this knee.